- Movie Rating -

Borderline (1980)

| December 19, 1980

I think that Death Wish may have been the best and worst thing to happen to Charles Bronson.  The best because it introduced him to a new generation and the worst because it convinced Hollywood that they could put him in any old vapid action picture and it would sell.  His post-Death Wish career was largely a joke because he took on roles that were just repeating that same old formula: tough guy with a gun takes on local scumbags.  That’s too bad because Bronson was a charming actor.  He did his best work early on in films like Once Upon a Time in the West, The Valachi Papers, From Noon Till Three and Hard Times.

Borderline is seated somewhere in the middle.  It tries to find a balance between the vapid, violent action pictures and couple them with character motivations that made the bloodbath not seem quite so senseless – Bronson has a drinking problem while his adversary is a disturbed war veteran.  The story boils down to a battle between Jed Maynard (Bronson) and a crafty human trafficker (Ed Harris) who has been smuggling illegal aliens across the border.

This is more or less the entire movie, but director Jerrold Freedman – a veteran of TV movies – tries to leaven the bloody shootouts by trying to give some measure of humanity to his characters, but it is clear that the movie isn’t really interested in characters.  It isn’t interested in the problems at the Mexican border.  It isn’t interested in policy.  It isn’t as racist as I might have expected from a movie like this but it doesn’t go out of its way to elicit any kind of humanity either.  Borderline is a violent action picture that tries to be something more but doesn’t quite get there.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1980) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized