• Border Run



    Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
    Released on: February 26, 2013.

    Director: Gabriela Tagliavini

    Cast: Sharon Stone, Billy Zane

    Year: 2012

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    The Movie:


    Directed by Gabriela Tagliavini in 2013, Border Run (also known as The Mule) stars Sharon Stone as a woman named Sofie Talbert who makes a living as a reporter for a conservative news outlet (think Fox News) and who has a pretty hard anti-immigration stance. When her brother, a relief worker named Aaron (Billy Zane), goes missing south of the border she takes it upon herself to cross the border incognito and try to track him down.


    Shortly after crossing into Mexico, she meets Rafael (Rosemberg Salgado), a man who knew her brother before he went missing. He offers to take Sophie to meet a man named Javier (Miguel Rodarte) who may hold some clues as to Aaron’s whereabouts. Oddly enough, on the way to meet Javier the two take time out to go drinking and dancing and before you know it, they’ve fallen in love… all while Aaron is… somewhere. That’s a pretty big plot hole right there, but what are you going to do? At any rate, soon enough Sofie and Rafael wind up getting separated, though this doesn’t stop Sofie from being able to find Javier on her own, and when she does, well, she winds up involved with a group of Mexicans hoping to make their way into the United States illegally. Not so surprisingly, once exposed to the hardships of the people she’s now forced to associate with, her politics start to shift, but none of this matters to big boss bitch Juanita (Giovanna Zacarías), a woman with a mean streak a mile wide. When Sofia is brought to Juanita, who is the one holding Aaron hostage, one of her thugs rapes her. With things looking grim, an escape plan is hatched, but it won’t be easy and maybe not so surprisingly, it will involve Sofia having to cross back into the United States, albeit this time with a new stance on the plight of the Mexican immigrant.


    It’s interesting to see an aging Sharon Stone cast here as something other than a sex pot character. As Sofia, she’s tasked with portraying an intelligent, if obviously misguided, woman with more to offer than just good looks. It’s odd seeing here playing the character with black hair but again, maybe this was to distance herself a bit from the blonde femme fatale characters she’s often associated with. In terms of her acting ability, she does alright for the most part but there are a few times where she does manage to chew a decent amount of scenery and plunge the movie headfirst into some fairly obvious melodrama. This hurts the film, but doesn’t completely ruin it. Zane’s role is more of a supporting part, really – he doesn’t get nearly as much screen time as Stone does but he’s fine when the movie needs him. The real star of the show is Giovanna Zacarías, a stern but not unattractive female villain, the kind who knows no limits of evil. Not only does she get to snarl and yell most of her lines but at one point she even kicks a pregnant lady in the stomach. She dials this performance up to eleven and, for better or worse, is the most memorable character in the movie.


    As far as the movie’s politics are concerned, everyone’s got their own opinion on the immigration debate but this film definitely takes sides. It also feels a little exploitative in its timing, given that the last election raised the immigration debate to the forefront of the American consciousness, but hey, never look a gift horse in the mouth. Seen as entertainment, rather than a fair and balanced political statement, Border Run is alright. It’s not a classic but it moves quickly, features some memorable characters, a respectable amount of tension and some decent action.


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    Border Run arrives on Blu-ray in an anamorphic 2.35.1 widescreen presentation with AVC encoding in 1080p high definition. The desert locations look appropriately arid, but a lot of times the colors look intentionally unsaturated – a stylistic choice, no doubt. Skin tones are good, if leaning towards the hot side of things periodically, while black levels remain dark and pretty strong. There aren't any compression artifacts or edge enhancement issues of note and all in all, the movie looks pretty good here in high definition, despite a few moments that show some banding and aliasing.


    The English language Dolby TrueHD mix on this release is pretty good, really. The lower end is nice and strong and a few of the more action intensive scenes make good use of the surround channels. Otherwise, dialogue is well balanced and mixed in nicely ensuring that you won't have any trouble understanding the performers while the score has some nice liveliness to it. Not much to complain about here, really, it all sounds quite good. Subtitles are provided in English SDH and Spanish.


    There are no extras here outside of a menu and chapter selection.


    The Final Word:


    Not the balls out action film that the cover art would have you believe, but more of a tense thriller with more going on than you might first expect, Border Run is a decent enough movie. It’s a bit predictable quite heavy handed at times but it’s well directed and features some pretty good acting from all involved, even if Stone does overdo it here and there. It’s interesting to see Stone cast against type and if Anchor Bay’s Blu-ray is devoid of any extras, at least it looks and sounds decent enough.


    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!