Allumination Filmworks // 2008 // 105 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 11th, 2008
Three men, 2,000 miles, and a ton of ammo.
Set against the volatile backdrop of the tissue-thin U.S./Mexico border, Border Lost pits a gaggle of ruthless criminals against an elite American task force.
With violent crime exploding on the U.S. southern border, the American government has approved the formation of Border Patrol squad, tasked with squelching the criminals preying on the defenseless illegal aliens.
Unfortunately, the "Bandoleros," as they're referred to by the locals, bump into some lethal resistance. The guy's name is Hector and he's one of Mexico's biggest gang-lords, responsible for the border killings. And when he finds out the Bandoleros are after him, he pushes back, targeting their loved ones, forcing them to bring the fight to him -- and they're more than happy to oblige.
This bad boy started out promising, but Border Lost eventually lost me as it got bogged down in procedural plotting. The promised gunfire does happen, but you'll have to get past 80 minutes worth of investigating and that just may bee a little too much to ask.
Which is a disappointment, because there's a lot this film does right. It's well-acted, well-shot and tackles a volatile contemporary topic with deftness. David Murhpy and Scott Peck, the writing/producing/directing team, are skilled filmmakers, especially on what surely was a low budget. The look of the film is particularly noteworthy. Soaked in yellow and orange hues, the photography style actively bolsters the feel and locale of the events. The action takes place in the sun-scorched desert and the film just looks "sweaty."
The guys that comprise the task squad are good selection of bad-asses, but they're not unleashed until the finale. That's a decent action sequence and all but it takes too long for them to get rolling with the violence. At about the 30-minute mark, the pace just grinds to a halt as the team begins interrogating and following up leads and making threatening glares. Ultimately, it's a pacing lull Border Lost can't recover from.
As for the provocative aspects of border protection and illegal immigration, I was surprised by how little the script touched upon them. Basically, there's one conversation between two of the task force guys in a pickup truck, about how one's conflicted about protecting illegals and how the other has compassion for people trying to escape a third-world hellhole and that's it. Afterwards, it gets back to strong-arming the bad guys and smacking around gangsters. So don't expect much depth of social commentary, even though the Jesse Jackson quote inserted at the end credits tries to claim otherwise.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen is clean and the aforementioned color palette is vibrant. No extras is a disappointment.
Border Lost had some potential, and in a few ways it scores, but what I'll remember first and foremost is how slow the thing moved in its bloated second act.
Go to the back of the line and apply for a Green Card.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Allumination Filmworks
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated R