There's a vital turning point at the beginning of 'Across the Line,' one on which the entire movie rests, and the screenplay completely blows it, rendering the rest of the movie null and void.
Imagine this, a billionaire banker named Charlie Wright (Aidan Quinn) is about to be indicted by the FBI on charges of swindling people out of billions of dollars in a grand Ponzi scheme. The FBI has his building surrounded, there's nowhere for him to go, but they've got to wait for the warrant to come in before they can go ahead and arrest him. It's a formality, but they're playing this one by the book.
Charlie heads down to the parking garage where his driver is waiting with a large SUV, there's a group of FBI agents in a car almost directly across from the SUV. They see, and we see, Charlie get into the SUV. The driver shuts the door, and starts to drive. Then the driver stops the vehicle, gets out, and walks around to the other side apparently checking the tire pressure. All the while we and the FBI are watching. The driver gets back in, drives up the ramp, and by this time the FBI agents have their warrant in hand and move in for the arrest on the city streets above. Case closed right? Wrong. Charlie Wright is nowhere to be found. Not in the SUV, not on the roof, not clinging beneath it. He's vanished.
Why did this irk me so? Because it's one of the biggest plot holes I've ever witnessed. A closed off parking garage, a portly banker who doesn't display any characteristics of an ultra-spy gets away without incident? What a load of BS! I sat there thinking, 'well they're going to have to explain that later on or the entire movie is worthless,' but they didn't. They leave it at that. I never thought an FBI perimeter could be as porous as the ones on '24,' but I was wrong.
What follows is one of those false-feeling redemption journeys where the big bad banker now feels guilt and remorse for the pain and suffering he's caused. It's probably just because he got caught, but that's not the issue here. Charlie, somehow heads down to Tijuana in a search for an estranged daughter. Now everyone is after him; the FBI, the Russian mafia who he owes money to, and a Mexican drug cartel that wants Charlie's money to pay off their own debts. They criss-cross Tijuana trying to catch Charlie, and Charlie always finds a way to vanish into thin air. He's the Houdini of bankers.
Still, my mind travels back to that parking garage. How did he get out of that situation? Why didn't the FBI try looking for him right after they saw he wasn't in the SUV? Why didn't they question the driver and ask, "Hey you were here, how'd he get out?" Instead, nothing. They pack up and leave, so the movie can move forward. Charlie Wright just mind-freaked them (and us) and no one seems the least bit interested in how he did it. After Charlie is done wallowing in remorse, and finds his redemption, I'm sure there will be a magic act he can fill on the Las Vegas Strip.
'Across the Line' fares rather well on Blu-ray, providing us with a very nice and detailed 1080p high definition image, which for the most part is spot-on.
The fine detail provided is great. Extreme closeups reveal everything from pores to individual facial hairs in Andy Garcia's beard. Color timing has been played with a little bit to give us a sense of where the characters are. In downtown Los Angeles at the beginning of the movie the film starts out with an icy blue sheen, when the plot moves down south of the border, the image takes on a yellowish tinge. The transfer does suffer slightly during the darker scenes, nighttime scenes feature some crushing shadows and so do dimly lit bar scenes. Darker scenes also feature heavy, muddy grain and some ghosting of the image as the characters' heads bob up and down.
Overall, for a low budget film like this, the finished product looks fairly good.
The audio is a bit more subdued.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital lossy audio mix features nice body up front. Dialogue and front-centric sound effects are produced with clarity. The ambiance in the rear speakers sadly doesn't offer the same oomph. The booming soundtrack however bleeds into the rear speakers from time to time, and also keeps the LFE chugging along. There are times where the surrounds are brought to life, like during the chase through the Mexican market, but even then they seem oddly restrained. There's much more action going on that could've been presented. It isn't an overly amazing audio mix, but it does the job fine. Still it is a lossy soundtrack and it never quite gets into that Blu-ray sound we've been spoiled with.
Very strange occurrence here. The back of the case says that there's supposed to be deleted scenes and an extra short film from the director, but under special features the only thing that comes up is the Making Of. There's nothing else there or anywhere.
When your whole movie is based on a plot hole that is never resolved then you've got a big problem. How did Charlie escape, and why was it so easy? The filmmakers make mistake of hoping the mystery of his escape will satiate us, when instead in infuriates us. If Charlie doesn't magically escape at that one opportune moment, the rest of the movie doesn't happen. It was like they painted themselves into a corner within the first ten minutes of the movie, and then said "screw it" let's do a magic trick! The video and audio are surprises, as a low budget movie like this I would never expect to look and sound so good. Nearly nothing in the special features department. This one adds up to a skip it, just because the movie is so ridiculous, but if you must see it, rent it first.