La Linea

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(2009) ★★

Film4: Monday 2 November, 1.25am

American agents watch and wait as ailing Mexican crime boss Andy Garcia cedes control to Easi Morales in Tijuana. And bounty hunter Ray Liotta aims to teach them both a lesson. Except Liotta’s beset by a trait peculiar to movie hitmen – compassion, and a compulsion to confess his sins. Clichéd drug cartel thriller is strongly cast and capably shot, but it’s still no more than Traffic-lite, bumped up to include the Taliban in the sordid circle of death. Like the church-going Mexican hoods, the Afghans talk a good religious game, ‘respect’ never far from their hypocritical lips.

But it’s only David Torn’s music that sometimes makes this dullish film seem classier than it is. It’s certainly not the gimmicky editing, which is as pretentious as the use of a Psalms quote: “That his line will continue forever and endure before me like the sun.”

The only female role of any note goes to Valerie Cruz, playing a beautiful hard-luck-case hooker. She’s got a heart of gold, too. Drugs, guns, brutality in general, misogyny in particular, two executions in close-up – how does stuff like this get away with a ‘15’ classification? An end dedication reads: “For the city of Tijuana, with love and respect.” The film was shot mainly in Baja, California.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 91min

IMDB – La Linea

TMDB – La Linea

Rotten Tomatoes – La Linea