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 ... See full summary »
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
Border patrol agent Brimley is killed (by Ed Harris) and Bronson's determined to find out who did it
Two years later, Jack Nicholson did the more interesting "The Border", but Borderline, which is quite different, is still watchable. It comes across a bit like a TV movie of the 70s. Bronson heads a border patrol unit near Mexico and his pal Wilfred Brimley gets shotgunned to death by Ed Harris, playing an ex-marine, in his movie debut. Harris works for a rancher (Bert Remsen) who brings in illegals and places them elsewhere. Remsen in turn works for the slick and oily businessman, Michael Lerner. Lerner scores in his part as he usually does and did in many TV movies. The same goes for Bert Remsen. These pros plus Harris plus Bronson are what carry the story, plus direction that went out of its way to create some movement on screen. Photography also was more than satisfactory.
Bronson has little to go on to find out who the killer is, but he makes the most of it in his determined and low-key way. Harris plays the marine as sharp, nerveless, quick and having no qualms about killing to save his skin.
The story is basically a mystery-detective story. There's almost no distraction in the form of a love interest, but for a brief subplot in which Bronson is kind to one Mexican lady who lost her son to Harris's shotgun. Bronson's performance holds up after 30 years because he didn't overact. In fact, the director kept everyone in check in this movie, and that fits the movie.
For a really top notch film noir taking place along the border, see Border Incident with Ricardo Montalban and George Murphy, but that's another kettle of fish. Borderline is more of a subdued Bronson vehicle. To see him doing far more in the same kind of location, see Mr. Majestyk from 1974.
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