review for Borderline on AllMovie

Borderline (1980)
by Donald Guarisco review

This effort is something of an anomaly in the Charles Bronson filmography. Borderline downplays action in favor of drama and has a rather involved storyline that includes commentary on social and political issues. Unfortunately, Borderline doesn't live up to the promise of the aesthetic about-face it provides for Bronson. The script gives the interesting subject matter a rather pro forma treatment and suffers from some annoying loose ends (for instance, Karmin Murcelo's interesting character builds a relationship with Bronson but her character is abruptly dropped halfway through and never mentioned again). The script problems are compounded by Jerrold Freedman's pedestrian direction, particularly during the anticlimactic finale. The bright spots in Borderline lie in its performances: Bronson offers a reliably strong lead presence; Ed Harris makes an excellent, believably amoral villain and reliable pros like Bruno Kirby and Michael Lerner add solid support. However, the quality of the acting can't rise above the lackluster material and this makes Borderline a film best left to Bronson's hardcore fans.