And you know what? When I did finally get around to it, I never did get over it. It's such a propulsive escalation of macho themes and stereotypes rushing toward unexpected and deeply satisfying ends.as part of the Picture Books series but what's changed since writing that piece is that I've read two of the books - To Live & Die in L.A. and Money Men (adapted as Boiling Point). I dug both of them. Plot-wise both adaptations are very faithful to the source material, but I'd say James B. Harris' Boiling Point is probably a little closer to the feel of the novel with its slightly laid back wait-n-see narrative than Friedkin's frenetic hard-charger.
Even Chance's last scene is very different in the novel, though the book goes just as hard at the character and I would recommend reading it to anybody who enjoys the film. The surprises especially in the final act are worth discovering.
Boiling Point doesn't hold near the place in pop culture history as To Live & Die in L.A. which helped launch the careers of William Petersen, John Pankow and Willem Dafoe, though its cast is even more incredible: Wesley Snipes, Dennis Hopper, Viggo Mortensen, Dan Hedaya, Seymour Cassel, Jonathan Banks, Lolita Davidovich, Tony Lo Bianco, Paul Gleason, Tobin Bell, Valerie Perrin and James Tolkan.
And what they had was a sturdy little crime flick about hustlers and predators on the streets with a hell of a that-guy cast and behind the camera talent in Harris and Petievich that would give serious weight to familiar genre-fare. I hope when somebody puts out a repackaged blu-ray they can get the film reconsidered and appreciated.
Also worth noting I made an emergency replacement appearance on All the President's Minutes podcast with Blake Howard and we talked about Robert Redford's vs. Dustin Hoffman's career, Alan J. Pakula's weaponization of recording devices and his affinity for bad brogues from Brad Pitt in The Devil's Own to Jane Fonda in Klute and I took the opportunity to connect Pakula/Klute to David Fincher's Zodiac as an easy bleed-in to Blake's next obsessive podcast project.