From Mexico with Love movie review: Not to be confused with either Once Upon a Time in Mexico or From Russia With Love, the title becomes a delightfully subversive Hollywood amalgam only after you've seen the picture. This up-from-the-fields slice of Tejano pride is a punchy, melodramatic piece of tried-and-true Americana that mixes cultures (and film genres) with an eye toward knocking down borders both cultural and contemporary. The script, by Glen Hartford and Nicholas Siapkaris, owes a sizable debt to pretty much every other boxing film that's come before, but that's not necessarily a bad thing when it's cast and executed with as much obvious body and soul as From Mexico With Love. Mexican heartthrob and bona fide película-idol Becker (Goal!) plays Hector, a Laredo field hand by day and a backroom brawler with a heart of gold by night. He gets a bass-ackwards shot at the (relative) big time when the local Great White Hope, Robert (Nesic), a scion of the local racist ranch master (Lang), sets his sights on Hector's up-from-down-South girlfriend, Maria (Garcia). Already living in desperate conditions – Madre Aragon is barely able to breathe and relies on covert inhaler deliveries from family friend Tito (Bauer) – Hector ends up on the wrong end of the border after a set-up scuffle. It's there that the kid finally winds up finding his Rocky-esque mentor, Billy (McGill), who also happens to have been recently employed as his nemesis' trainer. McGill, a former MacGyver regular and National Lampoon's Animal House's D-Day,” is top sage in what is essentially a smartly directed and considerably shorter version of the telenovelas in which Becker made his name. Shot in and around San Antonio with a wealth of area talent, From Mexico With Love updates at least 12 rounds of other underdog and/or immigrant fighter films spanning back to Kid Galahad and probably beyond, but it does so with an amiable and welcome Tejano flourish. It's a new welt on an old abrasion, that same old last-minute left-hook aimed square and true (and, when you get right down to it, red, white, and blue), socking the inevitably hard-fought future right in the kisser, once more, with feeling.
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