Hey folks, Valkor here. And I'm back with another Cuba Gooding Jr exclusive. First, I had the good fortune to check out "Hero Wanted", which was a damn good film. And for those who haven't seen it, definitely, give it a rental. Now Cuba is back with a new film that doesn't pack the same punch as HW, but it's still entertaining. Check it out, it's "Linewatch".
In "Linewatch, Cuba plays a Border Patrol Agent named Mike Dixon. While out on a mission to track down some guys who left behind a truck full of dead Mexicans, he finally makes it to a house where he and his partner are shot at and Mike's partner is hit. Mike takes out two of the guys but the third he recognizes, the thug also recognizes him and escapes. Turns out this guy belongs to a gang Mike used to roll with where he was called "Mad Dog". The thugs are able to track down where Mike lives; they tell Mike that he messed up a major drug shipment and that he must use his influence as Border Patrol to help get that shipment across the border or else his wife and kid gets it. It's a fairly straightforward story with no real twists in the plot, save but one. But it's such an obvious twist that you wouldn't be surprised when it happens.
I have to say I enjoyed watching "Linewatch"; from start to finish I was glued to my seat. It's not the greatest story ever told, but those simply looking for something entertaining, "Linewatch" does not disappoint. As law enforcement, I buy into Cuba's role simply because he's done something similar before (Outbreak, A Few Good Men). But as an ex-gangbanger... ehhhhh. I guess I can't complain because he excels in the role of Mike Dixon more so than he did with the role of Liam Case in "Hero Wanted". Dean Norris as "Warren" also does some great work in the film by not appearing to be a scary thug - he's not blingin all over or making with the heavy use of gangsta slang. He's the smoothest gangbanger I've ever seen on screen and I'm OK with that. But the funniest actor who definitely deserved a bit more screen time goes out to A.M.G. as "Stokes". He has some really funny lines here; it's just too bad his character meets an early demise. This also appears to be Kevin Bray's first feature film as he's done a lot of television directing. For this type of film, his experience comes in handy because it looks like a made for TV film (Going Direct to DVD hmmm... It's about the same). And again it's entertaining, so Bray has done his job.
The pacing is a bit off, as some scenes go on longer than they should. For instance, the opening scene where Mike is tracking down the coyote; events play out too slow before we get to the first shootout. And speaking of shooting, there's not enough of it and the ending was a bit anti-climatic. Mike goes to where his ex-gang members are holding up, takes em out and BAM! Movies over. More action!!
I'm not crazy about "Linewatch", but I certainly don't have regrets watching the film because the big question is: was I entertained? And the answer is a resounding yes. Though the ending was a bit dry and some choppy pacing does slow the film down a bit, the film is balanced out with a decent story, a fair amount of action, and some great acting that certainly warrants at least a rental at best, though you might not be disappointed with a purchase. Look for "Linewatch" to be released on DVD on Oct 21 and out of 5 stars I give the film 3.5 stars.