Jay Killion (Charles Bronson) had been the presidential bodyguard, but for the inauguration of the recently elected president, he is assigned to the first lady, Lara Royce (Jill Ireland). ... See full summary »
Peter R. Hunt
Jeb Maynard is a patrolman guarding the U.S.-Mexican border, whose partner and buddy Scooter has just been murdered. Maynard knows that a smuggler of illegal aliens is responsible for Scooter's death, but the feds insist that drug dealers committed the crime. If this villainous smuggler is going to be caught, Maynard is going to have to do the dirty work himself. Written by
"Borderline", admittedly, is fairly undistinguished in terms of presentation. It's passable as an action flick, and entertains reasonably well for 100 minutes. It purports to shed light on the problem of illegal immigration, which in 2015 is more of a hot button issue than ever before. Characters are mostly thinly drawn, but writer Steve Kline and writer / director Jerrold Freedman aren't completely insensitive to the plight of the good, honest, hard workers like Elena Morales (Karmin Murcelo) who feel they have no choice.
The movie does benefit from giving its star, Charles Bronson, a worthy adversary: a particularly ruthless and cold blooded smuggler named Hotchkiss (Ed Harris, in the role that "introduced" him), who sealed his fate when he killed Scooter Jackson (Wilford Brimley), one of the co-workers of the Bronson character, Jeb Maynard. Jeb and Scooter are among those on Border Patrol detail, and when Scooter gets murdered, Jeb takes it upon himself to solve the case. He doesn't trust the ignorant agents of the FBI, who think the whole case is about drugs. Jeb must also break in a new employee, Jimmy Fante (Bruno Kirby), an eager beaver rookie sent from NY.
What gives "Borderline" some stature today is its truly superior supporting cast. Bronson does what he usually does (which, of course, he is very cool at doing), but it's Harris and others that truly bring this to life. You can't go too wrong reading through this cast list: Bert Remsen, Michael Lerner, Kenneth McMillan, Norman Alden, John Ashton, Charles Cyphers, Virgil Frye, Luis Contreras, et al. Although the environment is very much male-dominated, Ms. Murcelo is appealing and touching as the illegal alien who reluctantly provides Jeb with the assistance that he needs.
This is worth noting for a striking music score by Gil Melle and cinematography by the consistently dependable Tak Fujimoto. It *is* enjoyable enough, even if it is formula driven and not too memorable.
Seven out of 10.
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