HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

BORDER LOST -- DVD review by porfle

The tagline reads "3 men, 2000 miles, and a ton of ammo." far, so good.

According to the foreword, illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S. are constantly being preyed upon by sadistic Mexican bandoleros. BORDER LOST (2008) is the story of a small U.S. task force trying to keep this from happening even as clueless politicians are trying to shut them down.

When one of their number is murdered and his fiancee kidnapped by the most vile outlaw leader, Hector, the three remaining "desert cowboys" (as they are called by the locals) ignore orders to stay out of Mexico and cross the border armed to the teeth and mad as hell.

Their leader is the hardbitten veteran cop Manny, played by Emilio Roso. Roso has an old style tough-guy face and a weighty presence, whether he's working over a bad guy or playing a tender love scene with the beautiful Vanessa (Marian Zapico).

His partner, Gabe (Protasio) is another experienced cop who's handy with a gun although he tends to go off half-cocked at times. Jake (Wes McGee), the rookie member of the group, is invaluable as a dead-eyed sniper.

In a harrowing scene early on, we see a group of illegal immigrants on a nighttime trek through the desert being robbed and terrorized by Hector's thugs, who rape and kill at their whim. Then we get our first look at the cowboys in action as they bust some bad guys in a dingy bordertown.

The action is lean, well-staged, and exciting. Plenty of shoot-outs and other graphically violent incidents occur along the way, with circumstances causing the agents to become increasingly ruthless and driven by rage, leading up to their daring and bloody siege against Hector and his men at their desert compound.

The freestyle direction by David Murphy and Scott Peck, which takes full advantage of some great authentic locations, is sometimes just as over-the-top as the acting, and the whole thing is often topped with a generous layer of Monterey Jack cheese. This isn't necessary a detriment, though, especially if you're jonesing for a quick action-flick fix.

DVD specs include a letterboxed 1:78:1 image, optional Spanish subtitles, and a trailer. Image and sound are good, with an effective Latin-tinged score by Christopher Peck.

The sun-bleached, documentary-style look of the film resembles the Mexico sequences in Steven Soderbergh's TRAFFIC. It also tries to duplicate that movie's realistic performances and verisimilitude, but this is most often overcome by action-movie cliches and pure melodrama. Strangely enough, the combination seems to work. BORDER LOST is, at its heart, a shoot-em-up revenge flick that Schwarzenegger and Seagal fans should enjoy, but with a unique ambience and attitude of its own.


No comments: