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.