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From Mexico With Love

An inaptly titled and thoroughly predictable indie drama directed by vet stunt coordinator and fight choreographer Jimmy Nickerson.

Cast:
With: Kuno Becker, Steven Bauer, Stephen Lang, Alex Nesic, Danay Garcia, Bruce McGill.

There’s scarcely a boxing-movie cliche left unrecycled by the end of “From Mexico With Love,” an inaptly titled and thoroughly predictable indie drama directed by vet stunt coordinator and fight choreographer Jimmy Nickerson. Aimed squarely at Hispanic auds, despite its almost entirely English-lingo dialogue, the pic might generate modest coin with its inspiring tale of an undocumented Mexican laborer who goes toe to toe in the ring with the cocky son of a surly Texas landowner. But the token theatrical release is just a preliminary round; the main event will be a homevid rollout.

Kuno Becker of the “Goal!” trilogy makes a personable impression as Hector, a farm worker and would-be pugilist who’s very much an underdog in a grudge match against a well-trained up-and-comer, Robert (Alex Nesic). And Danay Garcia is sweetly feisty as our hero’s requisite love interest. But as so often happens in pics such as this, most scenes are swiped from the nominal leads by character actors flexing their muscles in thinly written roles.

In this case, the petty larceny is performed by Bruce McGill as a grumpy old trainer who once tried to turn Hector’s father into a champ; Steven Bauer as a smooth-talking wheeler-dealer who helps Mexican workers slip across the border and into farm jobs; and Stephen Lang, looking as lean and mean as a guest-star bad guy in a ’50s TV Western, as the hardass farm owner who divides his time between exploiting his migrant workers and overseeing his son Robert’s boxing career.

Shot in and around San Antonio, the pic sports serviceable tech values. Given the director’s background, the fight scenes are surprisingly underwhelming.

From Mexico With Love

Production: A Roadside Attractions release of a Cineamour Entertainment presentation of a Hartford/Toll production. Produced by Glen Hartford, Daniel Toll. Executive producers, James Pascucci, Ken Herts. Co-producer, Cord Douglas. Directed by Jimmy Nickerson. Screenplay, Glen Hartford, Nicholas Siapkaris.

Crew: Camera (Technicolor), Rick Lamb, Ted Chu; editors, Paul Harb, Sean Albertson; music, John Frizzell; production designer, Allee Harati; art director, Rando Schmook; sound, John Bentley; assistant directors, Dan Katzman, Thomas Martin. Reviewed at AMC Studio 30, Houston, Oct. 12, 2009. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 97 MIN.

With: With: Kuno Becker, Steven Bauer, Stephen Lang, Alex Nesic, Danay Garcia, Bruce McGill.

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