Academy Awardr Winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. is a Border Patrol Officer in the New Mexico desert with a secret past that is about to catch up with him. When his old gang leader tracks him down and forces him to smuggle drugs across the border, he must choose between the life he swore to leave behind and saving his family at any cost.
Depending on how you look at it, having an Oscar on hand can do wonders to your career or it can seriously impede your future. Cuba Gooding Jr is a living example of it. With the exception of bit parts in "American Gangster" and "Norbit", the 1996 Academy Award winner has been busy dabbling in direct-to-video releases in recent years. At least in these Stage 6 productions, he gets top billing and of course a fatter paycheck.
"Linewatch" is a story of Mike Dixon (Cuba Gooding Jr), a border patrol officer who is hot on the trail of an illegal immigrant operation. There’s two storylines right here, one with Dixon trying to crack the case and the other, his former friends led by a guy named Kimo who threatened to kill his family unless he agreed to help them with a drug deal.
When all those investigations about illegal immigrants ended with a shootout, the first storyline is fast abandoned for the second, a relatively bizarre move consider the movie took a while to setup the whole issue of illegal immigrants crossing the US/Mexico border and abruptly jumps straight to the rest of the story involving our protagonist; Dixon who turned out to be an ex-member of HNG (Hell Needs Gangsters) nicknamed Mad Dog. With that, makes it far more justifiable to attract the video rental demographics with a few action sequences involving nothing more than gunshots and swearing.
This is not to say "Linewatch" is a terrible made direct-to-video release. In fact, the acting, editing and cinematography were pretty decent. Director Kevin Bray who helmed the theatrical remake of "Walking Tall" tries hard to redeem the weak material with believable characters study but that turns out to be nothing more than fillers. He even admits in the making of feature that some plotting have to be scrap due to a constraint budget. Indeed it shows in the drug deal sequence and the eventual showdown between Dixon and the HNG gang members.
Of course, there won't be another golden man waiting for Cuba Gooding Jr with movies liked "Linewatch". But at least it proves he can be a convincing action hero capable of emotions and bullets on the small screen.
The only special feature is the 18 minutes Crossing Borders: Behind the Scenes of Linewatch. Here we have the cast, director and producer talks about everything about the movie. Nothing unusual or spectacular. Previews of other upcoming Sony trailers are also included.
The 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen allows the frames which are shot in New Mexico to be projected beautifully on your screen. Plenty of shots involving the vast desert landscape and sunset for your viewing pleasure if you are into these sort of stuff. The audio is equipped with Dolby Digital 5.1 but "Linewatch" is not a movie to showoff your stereo set but the dialogue, occasional gunshots are clear and loud.
by Linus Tee