Director: James Cotten
Writer: R. Ellis Frazier
Stars: Ray Liotta, Andy Garcia, Esai Morales
Set in Tijuana Mexico, we open to the stereotypical ethnic minorities conducting some dodgy business. We know it’s dodgy business because they are there of course, along with black cars and men in suits and shades. The usual dodgy mob cartel malarkey. Meanwhile at the US Embassy in Mexico plans are afoot to try and stop any number of items including drugs, guns and people from passing into the States from Mexico and the Middle East.
Throw in a sub-plots involving the new boss of a cartel being targeted for assassination, a retired boss who wants to come back, US agents dealing with vets and a haunted washed up vet getting close to a prostitute and you can see that it all gets rather messy and muddled along the way. The direction and pace is a little confusing even to begin with as it’s difficult at first to tell who is dealing with who and why.
Mark Shields (Liotta) is a bit of a mystery character and Garcia appears to be some sort of mob boss Godfather type figure. Unfortunately both are looking rather old and past their prime. Goodfella’s this is not. The general cast is pretty impressive though (even if none of them are Mexican, though I guess Danny Trejo looks the part). Trejo is stereo-typically cast and Bruce Davison (X-Men) makes an appearance, but given he appears in anything these days, that’s not helping or saying much.
In fact the best character and acting is from Jason Connery, it is a shame we really don’t see more of him in bigger production features. As for the rest of the films quality, pacing is bad, the camera is all over the place and quite annoying and there are far too many over used reused aerial shots of Tijuana itself. The music/score is also all wrong though if you like your crime thrillers in the hood and think Little Big Toes is the next big rap sensation, then it might be to your liking.
For a film with the cast that it has (which also includes Armand Assante in a rather strange role) I’m really not sure how it could all go so horribly wrong. The film is slow, with little atmosphere and by the end you couldn’t care less who kills who and why and just wish you’d been one of the casualties to save yourself from the running time.
The Sage’s Rating: