A young migrant farmworker raises money for his mother’s medicine by prize fighting illegally in an old auto shop. As tensions mount on the farm where he works, he finds himself as a major chess piece in the battle between some Texas fat cats and the Mexican workers on both sides of the border.
The story starts off intriguing enough, with great emphasis being made on those who help Mexicans cross the border to find work in Texas. When the film deals with the sorts of struggles that many Mexican families are dealing with in real life it comes off as mature and worthy of interest, but eventually things get muddled up in a predictable melodrama that features some sloppy acting by the young leads as the stories diverge into three parallel plots that cut to and from each other the way a daytime soap opera might hop from one scene to another with no direct connection being made between them ever being established.
Part of my trouble with this film is that everything about it is a mixed bag. The gap between the older actors and the young ones is wide not just in age but in skill level. The films use of montage is well done as the picture quality even improves, but then its overuse distracts from what few successful dramatic scenes this film has by downplaying their significance. The story is able to gain momentum through complexity of the subplots, such as the illegal boxing matches being linked to a snake wrangler, but then we are offered god awful moments of bad WB-style drama, such as where the (supposedly) cute bad guy lures the (supposedly) cute Mexican love interest of our hero to a party, which completely kills the aforementioned momentum it just had.
At least the unavoidable, climactic boxing match between the boxing hero and the boxing villain is made largely plausible by way of the underground fashion it is assembled. The ‘good guys’ of the film show they have a devious side to make it all come about, all the while exploiting very similar nasty traits of the villains. Well, actually it is only really one character who is doing all the deception but his bravado muddies up the shine of any other young pretty protagonist involved.
Widescreen 2.35:1. The picture is mediocre at best. At times things get so grainy that it appears older than it actually is, as if I’m watching a VHS tape of a 90s film. A real disappointment.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and 2.0 are both offered. So much more could have been done with the Surround sound. The rear speakers seem mostly used to play birds chirping as an attempt to immerse the audience in a world where windows might be open, or you are outdoors occasionally. All in all, nothing special was done with the Surround so one might as well stick with stereo, which sounds decent I suppose.
Subtitles available in English and Spanish (perfectly suiting).
Just trailers for this film and other from the same distributor. Nothing special really.
There is a heavy amount of unfocused bouncing around of subplots and scenes, but certain parts of this film are worth wading through the confusion or even the tiresome soap opera portions. As predictable and flawed as this film is, it still has enough to make it worthy of a chance as there is an audience for it somewhere, perhaps just those looking for a feel-good drama who don’t mind a bit of fisticuffs.