28 July 2004 | stiffler2jlu
"On The Borderline" yields a higher production value than "Border Warz" but conjures up the same results. I suggest watching "Border Warz" first then watch "On The Borderli
There are some things I like about this film. The baby of the young couple gives the best performance. On a side note, Elizabeth Pena (La Bamba) and R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket) come in second. When you watch them you can tell that they are fighting the mediocre dialogue written for their characters but hey they earning their money. Two, the look of the film is GREAT. Props to the cinematographer. Three, the best part of this film starts after the shootout at the end of the film. It is a scene with Elias (Ermey), Nikki, Luke and Tyler (the baby). This scene is the best of the whole movie but you will have to watch the whole film to appreciate each characters circumstances in the end.
The story is pretty good with a few plot holes here and there. Nikki and Luke come from Detroit hoping to find a new life in California but they find themselves in trouble in a small texan border town. The direction is sub standard. I have never seen a night scene have intercuts of sunset to a night shot of the moon with clouds. It just looks off. Also the car crash scene was too much for me to handle and swallow. It was OK but it lowered my expectations a lot and that crash happened within the first ten minutes of the film. The right side of my brain told my left side, "I don't think this film is going to get any better." Also the slow motion in this film is too, I don't know, not needed.
If there is one thing that is wrong with this film it was the casting. It had nothing to do with the acting but the "LOOK" and "BELIVABILITY" of each character was way off. First, Nikki and Luke do not look like they are from Detroit, if they are than they are from the suburbs. The story alludes to Nikki and Luke coming from the city but I am probably wrong. Either way Nikki looks like she is from Longbeach while Luke looks like he is from Cypress, California. The only thing that works with these two is there innocence but that wouldn't be enough to have me cast them. The character of Dean was off as well but he does have merit. I can see the director liking him cause he is better looking than Luke and it would solve the motivation problem for Nikki to do the two step with him at the diner. Regardless he has california written all over him. His character made me believe more in Owen Wilson's country boy character in Michael Bay's "Armageddon". Overall he just doesn't work but I don't blame him, the writing of character is conflicted. Elias is played by Ermey and he does work as a border patrol officer. Elizabeth Pena plays Connie who owns the local diner in town. First of all, Pena looks beautiful, but her character should be older. There are lines in the screenplay that give a clue to Connie's age which doesn't match Pena's youthful self. The main thing that caught my attention was Pena's hairdo. The character of Connie needed to be older like Rita Moreno (HBO's OZ) or Rosanna De Soto (La Bamba). She wasn't believable but in the movie industry nothing really has to be real I guess. What does work is the film's town folk and Dean's sidekick. The town itself works as well.
Overall the only reason to see this movie is to see it for a production quality lesson for homework. Here's the assignment. Rent "Borderwarz", then rent "On The Borderline" and last but not least rent "Breakdown" with Kurt Russell. The assignment, write a five page paper discussing the quality of each production and how the films budgets reflected the choices made by the filmmakers of each films. Also comment on restrictions that each film probably had in correlation with funding. I want it on my desk by Friday, no later than 6pm.