2 November 2008 | lost-in-limbo
A dash over the border.
Charles Bronson has a long-listed filmography that has undeserved sleepers mixed among the favourites, but also there are quite a few standard vehicle efforts. 'Borderline' figures in that latter pile. Entertaining for the odd 97 minutes, but nothing really there to make it overly memorable. Maybe to see a steely Ed Harris make his first real dent in the major film industry, but other than that there's very little to it.
The subject at hand (illegal immigration of Mexicans crossing over the US border) is very topical and naturally integrated, as Charles Bronson plays the chief border patrol officer. However despite how strong the themes are, it's never truly harrowing and piercing enough in its context to lift it above its average layout. The human drama is too black and white (lacking an emotional punch), but also suffering was that it never gained any real sort of assured brunt when it came to the action. It can get rough, but the thrills are sparsely worked in. But this being the case it doesn't stop it from being effective, just it leaves a no real agreeable imprint.
During the nights Chief Border Patrol Officer Jeb and his overworked men take in many illegal aliens trying to cross over the border. One of his men pulls over a truck, but is shot for it. After the killing of a border patrol officer and a young Mexican boy too. The FBI is brought on to the case and believes it to have something to do with drug running. However Jeb along with the deceased boy's mother go about trying to figure out what really happened and he has his true suspicions.
What I liked was how director Jerrod Freedman gives the film quite an organic look, as the camera follows the action in a documentary-style. Freedman's direction is sturdily serviceable, never forced and lets it breeze by. Gil Mellé's rousing score is on the mark.
The cast do the best with what the script allows. Bronson alone gets through it with such genuine conviction. Harris' on-screen charisma evidently features with a well-comprised performance and Karmin Murcelo gives a wonderfully warm turn of heart-broke. There's an well-fitted supporting cast with Bruno Kerby, Michael Lerner, Wilford Brimley, Kenneth McMillan and Charles Cyphers.
Workable, if indistinguishable.