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Michael (Shawn Lock) and Olivia (María Gabriela de Faría) are traveling with two friends, looking to party and surf in the Mexican sun. The couple have been dating for six months but Michael is in love and wants to settle down, despite the teasing rebuttals of his friends. But one evening when Michael is going to meet Olivia in the lobby of the hotel, she doesn’t show up and instead, he gets a text message with an image of her bound and gagged. He then meets a crazed drug lord named Mateo (Rudy Youngblood) who informs him he has twelve hours to get across the border with a duffle full of cocaine or Olivia dies. Now he has to work his way through Tijuana and the underbelly of the crime world to find passage, all the while, never losing faith that he can save his girlfriend. Meanwhile, a diligent and driven Tijuana cop (Jacob Vargas) catches wind that drugs are on the move.
Directed by Daniel Zirilli, Crossing Point is a competently made thriller that borrows liberally from many others in the genre, but still maintains a compelling narrative. Taking itself very seriously, it covers a lot of ground given the simple plot but doesn’t explore much beyond the tropes we’ve seen countless times before. There are twists that might surprise but shouldn’t, though that doesn’t detract from the story. It’s not really about that. This is more about the journey and the chase.
Lock is on screen the most and while he is certainly cut like a young action star, lacks the charm and weight needed to carry the film. There is a detachment to his performance that at times feels like it makes sense, but ultimately weakens the film. Gabriela de Faría fares better, attractive and flirty, she spins it well and convinces but is reduced to not one but two tropes, both of which I won’t spoil. Tim Sizemore shows up as low-level criminal and sneers appropriately through his limited part. It would have been nicer to see him get a little more screen time, perhaps even cast as the central antagonist, but he does good things with what he’s given. Of them all, Vargas stands the tallest and easily steals every scene he has, so much so that the entire plot involving Michael could have been dropped and all that time devoted to Vargas. I could watch another two hours of this character’s story and wish there had been a lot more of it. Vargas is intense, committed, and fun to watch.
Where the films stumbles is with supporting characters, especially the two friends who wildly overact (the way they act at a strip club, you’d think these two twenty-something party boys had never in the entirety of their lives seen a nude woman before). Thankfully they are barely in the film. A girl (Paulina Gaitan) Michael meets on a bus is painfully obvious, setting up a final shot that can be guessed the moment we see her. There are other issues as well, such as a dancer working for Sizemore’s character who listlessly gyrates with her top off that feels awkward and forced, as if her only purpose is to up the film’s rating (Gabriela de Faría has a gratuitous shower scene that is devoid of nudity even though Zirilli spends close to two minutes teasing that there will be, something that has pangs of insincerity given one of Gabriela de Faría’s last lines).
Still, Zirilli knows how to set up an action scene. There are several tense moments, mostly all with Vargas, and they work well. Thankfully, the movie is not filled with endless gunfights as well. The script has some intelligent exchanges between some characters and lets the characters drive the action rather than mindless shootouts. The mix of Spanish and English is also welcome, lending great atmosphere to the setting (the majority of the movie was shot on location in Tijuana).
Crossing Point is a solid action film that may not have the budget and marketing of a big Hollywood production, but competes well enough with most of them to make this worth a watch.
Director: Daniel Zirilli
Writers: Paul Dominic (screenplay), Shawn Lock (screenplay)
Stars: Shawn Lock, María Gabriela de Faría, Paulina Gaitan, Jacob Vargas, Tom Sizemore