Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Undocumented (2010)

Director - Chris Peckover
Writers - Chris Peckover, Joe Peterson
Production Company - Sheperd Glen Productions

The story idea behind Undocumented is a pretty fantastic one, very inventive, and a lot could have been done with it.  That being said, I think the movie was Terrible with a capital T.

The premise is a handful of college kids, all US citizens are making a documentary about Mexicans, crossing into the US illegally.  While crossing over and being bused to a final location in the trip, they’re (College kids and the Mexicans) bombarded by a group of militant US citizens who want to make these people suffer for trying to cross illegally.  They do this not only to punish the people they’ve captured, but to use it as a warning against future offenders crossing illegally.  Simple story - and great set-up if you ask me.

Once the group is brought to the facility that the militants call home, the college kids are asked to continue their documentary, albeit the premise has changed a bit.  They’re now asked to focus on the militant group and how they’re helping to stop the onslaught of illegal immigration.  Up to this point, I like the plot– no damage done and I’m waiting for it to get real good.  


There was one scene in particular that just seemed really over the top to me.  Picture this - you have a small stage where there’s a chair.  Behind that chair is a large American flag backdrop.  One of the illegals is placed into that chair, and his wife is placed in some crazy torture device in front of him.  The main militant in charge then starts firing off immigration type questions to the illegal immigrant, for every question he gets wrong his wife is tortured. Let’s just say he doesn’t get may questions right. This whole scene reminded me of a game show, I felt the film was trying to be serious and this scene made me laugh.  I wanted the militants to be serious, be careful, be neat, and have a very systematic way of “torturing” the immigrants for their cause. 

Another scene has you meet a few of the other militants and one of them has the job of messing up dead illegal bodies to place in the underground tunnel that runs below the border in order to scare other illegals.  Dumb.  He’s very proud of his work!

Oh… and this one time, one of the college kids gets high on some drugs, because he was getting branded from the militants and they offered him some pain relief.  Well after he’s branded they decide to throw a fiesta with music and a pinata - Travis (college kid) beats the crap out of this pinata, with a nail studded bat!  Of course the militants had placed one of the other college kids in the pinata, so Travis did not have such a great fiesta once he found that out. Dumb.

People kiss in the midst of all of this, I always find this dumb!!!  Please movie directors, if you’re one/two days into a horrific experience I really can’t see kissing being on anybody’s mind!!

There was ONE cool part, something that made my stomach churn.  There were a couple of children caught up in all this, and the Militants just release them from the facility to face the dessert on their own.  I have kids, so this made me envision my own child just released into an unknown, unforgiving, dry terrain -so that idea really stuck a cord.

Now back to dumb.  In the beginning of the film our documentary crew interviews some people before their illegal border crossing trip – This includes a local family of some people who will be crossing the border and a businessman who exploits illegals.  Well our militant patriots also manage to go find these people outside of the facility and bring them to there for some “fun”.  I mean really?  They’re out in the dessert somewhere and this militant group just goes out and kidnaps people already in the US?  Really???  This film did not make the militants bad-ass enough to pull this off if you ask me.

I think the general idea behind Undocumented is a great set-up for a great movie, it just was not this version.  The acting is alright, the overall look is decent, but the details for the story are overly dramatic and the militants are like bad cartoon characters.

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