Sunday, 30 October 2011

Across the Line: The Exodus of Charlie Wright


Written & Directed by: R. Ellis Frazier
Starring: Aidan Quinn, Luke Goss, Mario Van Peebles, Bokeem Woodbine, Gina Gershon, Gary Daniels, Andy Garcia, Corbin Bernsen, Raymond J Barry,

Charlie Wright (Quinn) is a sneaky bastard. Attempting to scarper with upwards of 10 billion dollars (some of it belonging to Raymond J Barry’s Russian mob boss) he’s caught and threatened with a long stretch in prison. But being as sneaky as he is, he disappears into self imposed exile down Tijuana way, managing to cipher away 2 billion of the 10 with him and attempts to look for a woman he abandoned twenty years earlier. However, hot on his trail are a hot shot but jaded FBI agent (Van Peebles) a hitman (Goss) and his crew sent by the Russian and a Mexican crime boss (Garica) who has his own reasons for getting hold of the money Wright stole.

Nicely shot and well acted little crime drama, Across the Line may have ambitions above its low budget and short running time but thanks to a good cast, unfussy direction and a nice authentic feel from the real Mexican locations, the film is a decent little thriller. There is perhaps a little too much going on for a film that runs only 90 minutes with a surfeit of characters all battling for screen time to tell their own story. Nothing wrong with this but some subplots and character motivations needed fleshing out which a longer running would have accommodated. We already have an interesting character with an interesting story to tell in Wright and some of the focus is often taken away from Wright to fill in the back-stories of certain other characters.

However, and as mentioned, this is a decent little thriller with a good cast. Quinn is excellent as the lost and out-of-his-depth Wright and there is solid support from Mario Van Peebles, Andy Garcia and Gina Gershon as Garcia’s (incredibly hot) wife. Luke Goss stands out as the quietly confident hired gun sent after Wright and his scenes with Gary Daniels (getting a cool little role that allows him to act) have nice antagonistic tension to them. The film also uses its authentic locale well, shooting on what appears to be the streets of Mexico, which adds some sun soaked grit.

Much more of a crime drama than an action film there is only one standout action scene when one group sent after Charlie try to snatch him from another group already holding him. A finely staged gun battle erupts in what appears to be a deserted bull-fighting arena, which ups the tension and adds a little life to proceedings when the narrative threatens to become too plodding. Things may get wrapped up a little too easily and quickly but on the whole this is a decent crime flick featuring a whole host of genre favourites.

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