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on December 7, 2010
Across the Line (also known as The Exodus of Charlie Wright) isn't quite movie-theater quality, but stands out as one of the better straight to video flicks I've seen in a long time.

The film tells the story of Charlie Wright, a California businessman that has defrauded others out of billions of dollars. Wright takes flight to Mexico where he's pursued by the FBI, Tijuana gangsters, and Russian mafia mercenaries.

For being straight to DVD, the film is shot extremely well. Great visuals of Mexico, plus a solid movie score. Director R. Ellis Frazier, who himself lived in Mexico for a number of years, takes a page from Soderbergh's "Traffic" with interesting color correction styles. Frazier's talent shows in this film, and could be the next Antoine Fuqua if given a better budget to work with.

The film also features an interesting cast of actors. Aidan Quinn appropriately comes off as a shell of a man, as the lead character Charlie Wright. But it's Andy Garcia who steals the show, in an excellent performance as aging Mexican crime lord Jorge Garza. His role is complemented by Danny Pino, who I became a fan of from his days as Armadillo Quintero in The Shield. For being almost 50, Gina Gershon as Garza's wife looks just as hot as she did in Showgirls, though she doesn't get much screen time. The rest of the cast is rounded out by experienced actors such as Corbin Bernsen, Raymond J. Barry, Luke Goss and Bokeem Woodbine.

The plot itself is fairly simple, but it ultimately works thanks to a few quality performances and its theme of redemption. Don't expect too much if you're an action junkie, as shootout scenes are limited. Across the Line is a step up from La Linea, the last Frazier-directed movie I watched. But due to a low budget, it's definitely not on the level with Traffic or Man on Fire.

If you like crime dramas with a bit of meaning behind them, you should absolutely check this film out.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 31, 2012
This is one of those films that is hard to review; I actually enjoyed it but was left sort of unfulfilled. It is based on the true story of Charlie Wright. His investment company carried out a Ponzi scam investment and by the time the balloon went up, he had managed to get at least a couple of billion dollars into offshore bank accounts. There was over ten million gone in the first place so this made this Americas biggest ever investment fraud.

Charlie (Aiden Quinn) realises the game is up and decides, not unreasonably some might say, to do a runner with the cash; we must not judge he has been brought up in the world of investment bankers after all.

The problem is one of his unfortunate clients is a boss in the Russian mob. They decide to hire a specialist gun who will get him and bring the money back. Enter Damon (a lean looking Luke Goss of eighties cr@p band `Bros' or `Toss' as I used to call them). He gets together a crew and starts looking for their man, and they are seriously tooled up. Meanwhile Charlie has turned up in Tijuana, Mexico to search out the one woman who truly loved him. That love was however twenty years ago and of course he used her and then abandoned her to become a real banker.

I am forgetting `the feds', yeah they are always involved and this lot are headed up by a statesman like Mario Van Peebles as Agent Hobbs. His boss is the usual ball breaker who wants Wright to come back and face the music no matter what. Third problem for the unassuming thief (sorry I mean banker) Mr Wright is that he is in Tijuana which belongs to Jorge Garza, sort of small time crime lord of the border crossing and played by a bearded Andy Garcia who has some debts and knows he can shake down Charlie if he gets there first.

So the scene is set and there are some very good moments and some solid performances especially so given the sparse script, a fact which is only apparent on reflection. Quinn puts in an excellent performance as does Van Peebles, I thought Goss was being a bit Jason Statham at one point, but that was me being a biatch, he is actually quite good and I hope he gets more roles as he does have something to bring to the party. The real problem is the outcomes which just lack a bit they are either pandering to the real outcome, in which case it did not happen like this or it is al made up, either way this is one for the journey and not the destination. It has had mixed reviews, but it is above average and not 3 stars or really 4, but I have rounded up and not down hence the rating. I must finish by saying despite the moral decrepitude of everything Charlie Wright did, Quinn brings such humanity to the role that you can't help ending up liking him, now that is some feat.
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on March 18, 2011
Despite the fact that this film was a direct-to-dvd product it still has a lot to offer. The viewers looking for an action-packed film will no doubt be disappointed as there are really only two scenes with violence (but even so both those scenes were fraught with tension and well executed) but viewers who enjoy a film for its characters and ambience will be pleasantly surprised. Charles Wright, a thinly disguised Bernie Madoff type, is a white-collar thief on the run from the FBI. He does not flee to South Africa or Barbados to live out his life in ease and wealth but instead heads directly for Tijuana where he hopes to find the daughter he has never meet. Once there he becomes the focus of three different groups. The Tijuana group, with Andy Garcia doing a great job portraying the pater familias, wants Wright for the money he still has control of in order to get out from under from a group of very serious people from Mexico City. The Russian Mafia group, this headed by the always impressive Luke Goss, wants him for the 100 million dollars he cheated the mafia bosses out of, an insult to heavy to be allowed. And the FBI, with Mario Van Peebles taking the lead, just want him. The interplay between these groups remains interesting throughout the film but the chief drivers are Aiden Quinn as Charles Wright and the actual city of Tijuana. Quinn portrays as man in obvious flight, not only from the law and from creditors but from the waste that he has made of his life. He plays this role well. Using almost no dialog, Quinn still manages to portray a life of pain and self-loathing. Tijuana, which hasn't been portrayed in a film in a very long time, is shown simply for what it is; the seedy and yet human and colorful cancre of Baja California. While Wright is seeking redemption and everyone else is seeking Wright, the film glides to a rather surprising end. The plot is loose at times but the film can bear it. Worth watching.
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VINE VOICEon September 15, 2011
"Across the Line" is a straight to video 2010 crime drama ostensibly about a crooked financier's attempt to escape from the FBI, the Tijuana mafia, and the Russian mob. But beyond the obvious, the film is really about coming to terms with the consequences of your choices, as the financier (Aidan Quinn), the boss of the Russian mob (Ray Barry), the boss of the Tijuana mafia (Andy Garcia), and the head of the FBI (Mario Van Peebles) each reach inside themselves to deal with the problems that the financier's flight have created.

There are many excellent performances in this film. Andy Garcia is the obvious standout, but one comes to expect this high level from a man who has given us dozens of fine performances ("The Godfather, Part 3", "Things to do in Denver When you're dead", "Internal Affairs", "Black Rain"). The big surprise is Mario Van Peebles who has specialized in films like "Baadassss" and "New Jack City" but who gives in this film a subtle and layered performance that is probably a career highlight.

But the real surprise is the marvelous work on Claudia Ferri as an aging working girl who helps Quinn locate his missing daughter. Ferri is best known for her work on TV ("The Killing", "The Last Templar"). FWIW -Ferri played Quinn's wife in "The Assignment" (1997).

The film is written, produced, and directed by R. Ellis Frazier. Frazier made his bones working for Ronald Shusett who is well known for films like "Alien" (1979), "Above the Law" (1988), and "Total Recall" (1990)

There's not a lot of action in this film, and it consists mainly of the principals contemplating their futures in the light of their past. Quinn must decide between escaping or searching for his missing daughter at his own peril. Van Peebles must decide between the demands of his job and his humanity. Garcia must weigh his own life against the well being of his family. Barry has to consider the desire to recover his stolen millions against the need to remain under the radar. It's very interesting to see these dramas work themselves out.

Bottom line - if you're looking for an action crime Mexican drama (like "Man on Fire") this isn't the film for you, but if you want to see a well acted film about life's choices, played against a crime background, this is a good film.
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on December 18, 2010
After watching Wall Street, this was a great follow up.

It makes you think who would come after the scammer that took all the money. I enjoyed the actor's performances, especially Claudia Ferri, who played a Mexican prostitute with a fetish for face cream. Her scenes were great. Luke Goss is also great to watch. He's got a lot of charisma and Andy Garcia is great in everything he is in. The lead character of Charlie Wright was played by Aidan Quinn and he did a great job too. You could tell he was regretting what he did and his expressions are great.

I loved the way the movie was put together, it kept my attention the whole time. There was a great action scene in the middle at a bull fighting ring that had me on the edge of my seat and the ending was not what I expected, which gave the movie a lot of substance.

Overall I say this is one of the better movies I've seen this year and it's worth buying or renting.
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on July 4, 2011
This film had a lot of potential; the plot was jump started and became a moving target never making its point. The good cast held this film together and nice scenes in Mexico were good---but the film never seem completed to me. The script must of been chopped up from the original or something, in the end this film makes for a remake in the future with a top action director to get it going instead of wasting time with facial cream (a nice touch but overkill in film) and other useless scenes.
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on August 19, 2012
Across the Line (also known as The Exodus of Charlie Wright) isn't quite movie-theater quality, but stands out as one of the better straight to video flicks I've seen in a long time.

The film tells the story of Charlie Wright, a California businessman that has defrauded others out of billions of dollars. Wright takes flight to Mexico where he's pursued by the FBI, Tijuana gangsters, and Russian mafia mercenaries.

For being straight to DVD, the film is shot extremely well. Great visuals of Mexico, plus a solid movie score. Director R. Ellis Frazier, who himself lived in Mexico for a number of years, takes a page from Soderbergh's "Traffic" with interesting color correction styles. Frazier's talent shows in this film, and could be the next Antoine Fuqua if given a better budget to work with.

The film also features an interesting cast of actors. Aidan Quinn appropriately comes off as a shell of a man, as the lead character Charlie Wright. But it's Andy Garcia who steals the show, in an excellent performance as aging Mexican crime lord Jorge Garza. His role is complemented by Danny Pino, who I became a fan of from his days as Armadillo Quintero in The Shield. For being almost 50, Gina Gershon as Garza's wife looks just as hot as she did in Showgirls, though she doesn't get much screen time. The rest of the cast is rounded out by experienced actors such as Corbin Bernsen, Raymond J. Barry, Luke Goss and Bokeem Woodbine.

The plot itself is fairly simple, but it ultimately works thanks to a few quality performances and its theme of redemption. Don't expect too much if you're an action junkie, as shootout scenes are limited. Across the Line is a step up from La Linea, the last Frazier-directed movie I watched. But due to a low budget, it's definitely not on the level with Traffic or Man on Fire.

If you like crime dramas with a bit of meaning behind them, you should absolutely check this film out.
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I really liked this movie and recommend it. The filmaking, acting and cinematography are skilled.

However, it received some negative reviews here and I can see why. The writer / director Ellis Frazier has mixed up two genres in a way that confuses viewers. The movie starts out as a straight police / action flick with escaped criminals, angry FBI beaurocrats, car chases, gun play, etc. But midway through it morphs into something else - an introspective study of how men evaluate their lives in relation to their obligations to family. The contrast is jarring. Perhaps Frazier changed his own idea of the movie at the half way point, or maybe he thought he was adding class to the car chase scenario. Doesn't work. The tender relationship of Charlie Wilson to an ageing prostitute, his search for his daughter, Andy Garcia's character as a gangster attempting to protect his family legacy - OK but doesn't go along with car chases.

Frazier is early in his career as a director and talented. Hope we will see more from him.

(Odd note; there are elements of the movie that seemed to parallel the Townes Van Zandt song Pancho and Lefty - "We coulda had him any day, just let him go - out of kindness I suppose." In the deserts down in Mexico. Intentional?)
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on January 1, 2011
As a big fan of Andy Garcia I decided to watch this movie despite some bad reviews and I was actually glad that i did. Movie is a little bit slow sometimes and it's more like a drama than an action packed movie. There are several storylines that interweave so it's not really hard to follow.
If you like movies about life choices, movies that make you think outside of your world, movies that have more than just superheroes so you should definitely give it a chance.
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on October 6, 2011
I really wanted to like this video. However I fell asleep twice. I did go back and re-watch those areas but found very little. The video was just to slow in developing the story and "like" of the characters. and forgive me, but it was very boring. Rent maybe, if you have insomnia, but... .
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