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VINE VOICEon March 29, 2011
I've read the other reviews and while I agree with many of their points I do wonder if maybe I saw a different film from the one that the reviewers are describing? For the new viewers who have yet to decide whether or not to try this one I would strongly suggest that they do so, and with these observations - first, I saw a film about family, several families actually and all dysfunctional yes, but about Family, blood ties, betrayal in one family, tragedy and loss in others. The use of Mexican/US drug wars as a catalyst may have caused some viewers to think that this is a routine gritty crime movie but the writer(s) wanted something epic, life and death, which these ravaging drug wars are, to put the bigger theme of Family into high relief.

As to the casting, I appreciate it whenever actors challenge what they've already done twenty times, so I rather liked the choice that Andy Garcia made in particular, I do not think he was wasted at all. Liotta played his assassin's part almost as a mute - and that too is not an accident or a poor reading on his part, ie. who is his foil? It's the striking Mexican prostitute, her life is the battleground that all the other actors cross over, disrupt, shred, and yet she is the one who communicates to us, the viewer, what Liotta is going through, we understand him through her empathy with him. I think that this film is worth watching just to see how Liotta and Cruz pull it off. The title itself, the "line," is in my opinion, refers not to geography but the line crisscrossing over lives of real people like Cruz, it is her life encapsulated for us to see where the real terror and horror of these drug wars are fought, not some convenient metaphor of a border between countries.

However, of all the cast, and it was a remarkably competent one, the stunner for me had to be Pelon, every second of screen time Esai Morales was riveting, pathetic, tragic, and desperate and in many ways the male parallel of destruction in this environment that we see with Cruz's character. Even Assante's seemingly minor role became the pivot I never saw coming. It never ceases to amaze me how many gears this actor has to work with, be it over the top charm or almost a stunted shell of a man, merely existing on autopilot, he nails the human drama of that life every time.

So, don't view this film as some gritty routine action throwaway, as if it were Dumb and Dumber with guns. There were times when I did wish they had had a different film editor to better layer the many simultaneous story lines so that we wouldn't lose or confuse the underlying theme of Family. Then again, most films that endeavor to be a persuasive emotional and intellectual "experience" and not just a couple hours spent in leisure mode are not one-offs, view once and move on. They become a new film every time you view it, they grow as you do, they reveal details that you missed the first time. They may even change entirely once you do see it from say the perspective of Family or blood feuds or revenge or even exposing the moral decay of a human who no longer has family?

A final thought, any film that attempts to do things differently, from cast to writing, to choices in character development, to cultures too often passed over as one-dimensional, impresses me tremendously. Give this one a look, and let it tell you a story or stories, that you aren't telling the director is the one you want, but the one they want to tell you.
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on January 5, 2010
La Linea or 'The Line' is a film starring Andy Garcia, Ray Liotta, and Esai Morales and a powerful setting in Mexico.

The plot revolves around the current climate in Mexico regarding the drug cartels and the infrastructure
that lies within them, however unlike the Italian Mafia they're not as romantic nor interesting and this film certainly does not help. Ray Liotta stars as Mark Shields as an assassin spear headed by a United States private agency to eliminate Pelon played by a surprising Esai Morales who is trying to prove himself as the newly selected boss to the dying former if you will don Javier Salazar played by Andy Garcia, while Salazars son Diablo played by Jordi Vilasuso is trying to vie for power. The film goes through the usual developments that you would expect in an film that is equal parts 'Traffic' and 'Man on Fire' although not nearly as good. The direction by James Cotton is very Michael Mann in it's style however I commend him for making the film look nicer that it should in fact I was surprised at his maturation considering his last film 'Demon Slayer' was a mumbling mess, however despite the nice things James Cotton did in this film it still tragically did not work and thus neither the decent direction not acting could save this film. La Linea just could never make up it's mind it,ran with a concept that has not been properly executed on film( however NBC's King Pin came close) that is the whole cartel structure and the way they are run, instead La Linea decides to overuse common cliches associated with crime films and across the border politics, you know, crooked cops, a hooker with a heart of gold, expected climax, and things that make little to no sense. I would of certainly thought that considering this film was made in the heart of the current cartel war that it would give harsher facts about the life style that is the life style in the cartels and instead all we get are Tony Montana light and intentional fear mongering considering a Middle Eastern subplot that is equally underdeveloped and insane. Indeed it sounds like it is all bad however I give this film three stars considering the acting was solid particularly Esai Morales, this Boricua was very convincing as a needy and desperate man fighting and trying hard to maintain power, Ray Liotta plays the stereotypical damaged goods hit man and Andy Garcia fans may get disappointed in how little he appears in this film, it almost felt like a cameo. Overall La Linea offers nothing new in crime cinema nor does it take advantage of such a fetching cast however if you want a Michael Mann type fix it's an decent film for a couple of hours however I advise it as an rental only.

Here are Some Extra mini stats on a 1 to 5 scale

Action 2/5
The cover might suggest otherwise however the action is neither exciting nor original pretty underwhelming for action junkies.

Drama 1/5
Overused cliched actions by a tortured Ray Liotta who does everything in the book with the hooker with the heart of gold along with the rest of his actions and the rest of the film.

Acting 3/5
Again not perfect however a lot of the performances were pretty good.

Sexuality 5/5
A lot of nudity and innuendo (it's Tijuana for God's sake!) the 5 for 5 is not an indication of quality nor efficiency but of the content presented in the film.

Blood/Violence 2/5
Not too bad there are some bloody gun shoots but nothing over the top.

Comedy 1/5
Nothing funny here well unless you like pain and misery.

Well there you are I hope you enjoyed my review.
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on May 14, 2011
If you like TNA, mobsters, good vs bad & corruption, you'll love this movie.

plot > The terrorists want a pipeline to the USA.
subplot 1 > The Mexicans already have a drug line.
subplot 2 > Who's gonna take over the cartel?

Mix these three things up & things get screwed up pretty quickly.

I found the story to be believable.

Mexico sounds fun, but it's better to be alive than dead.
Find out who survives.
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on June 1, 2012
This is a well scripted, well produced and well acted movie. I am not sure how this didn't get more press. It has a solid story, plot twists and turns and the kind of ending I like...a realistic one. Life events rarely end in a perfect happy way and neither does this film. Kevin Gage is great in this! Get it and enjoy.
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on July 16, 2013
What I liked: This movie offers is a look into the personal lives of people on both sides of the drug trade. The story does provide a surprise ending and should hold your attention. If not, there is enough action sprinkled in to get the job done.
What I didn't like: The movie may appear outdated to some and a bit slow
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on July 15, 2013
I haven't seen Ray Liotta in something in a while. The story line in this movie was really gripping because of his character and his conflict. I loved the two twists at the end as well.
Teresa R.
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VINE VOICEon November 8, 2009
Not a reference Blu in any category, but some of the popular local favorites are in this with some meaty roles including Liotta and Trejo. Without a doubt a prolific cast overall, with Andy Garcia, Armand Assante, Bruce Davison, Valerie Cruz and others.

The story tries to follow various lines of people whose lives intersect (directly and indirectly) this cartel operating out of Tijuana. We have hired hit men, an ailing godfather, CIA/DEA guys running their ops against the bad guys, internal cartel strife and Afghanistan farmers trying to sell their product into the US. Sounds like a lot and it is, almost too much in the 95 minutes they gave this. Ray Liotta was great but he only gets some of the screen time. Trejo gets more speaking time than normal in his films so I enjoyed that (he gets to do his usual of shooting guns, torture and looking awesomely bad). The subplots abound, and each one gets bookended with the same aerial shots of the city - both day and night - that looked horrible in Blu (almost felt like they were trying to copy Mann).

The picture quality looks decent at times, horrible at others. There were intermittent scratches, discolorations, and bleeding of light, but the fact that the cityscapes were filmed in lodef with no upgrade makes for an irritating mess at times - especially with how much they are peppered throughout. The sound is average and the supplement is 16:40 minute making of. It articulates some of what they were trying to make with this film and the challenges of filming in a dangerous locale.

They gave it an earnest try with a heck of a cast and nice little twist at the end with two characters, but the pacing, angst and amount of characters drags it down - I will save the huge writing gaffes for the comments section as to not spoil it for those that might watch this. Three for the film and supplement, 0 for the Blu.
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on March 8, 2013
Read other reviews for the plot line. This is an ambitious attempt at riveting movie-making. The cast shines. The fight scene in the bar by Ray Liotta is worth the dvd price all by itself. The script leaves too many unanswered questions but it's a very good watch. You won't be sorry.
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on February 27, 2013
good good good picture movie get it now ,not tomorrow, love it,loved it. great actors. great pictures. greayt. movie. t
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on November 9, 2011
If you liked 'Syriana' or 'Babel' for the so-called entertainment they were, you'd probably like this too. I didn't like either fo them, so after about an hour of misery, gratuitous violence and a plot that would be going nowehere if it actually existed to some extent, I pressed on 'eject' and went to bed. I've had enough of trash like this, so I know when to pull the plug. I think new categories should be required for movie distribution so we know what we're getting and we can save our time and money from the outset.
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