A talented quartet of young actors can't surmount the wall-to-wall clichés that comprise "Mission Park," an earnest, not terribly convincing action thriller as generic as its title. Though writer-director Bryan Anthony Ramirez keeps things moving apace, he trots out so many familiar tropes that it's often like watching a highlights reel from a lifetime's worth of urban crime dramas.
The movie, set in San Antonio, finds four childhood friends, who as kids were jointly involved in a botched restaurant robbery, reuniting as 20ish adults on opposite sides of the law: Brothers Bobby (a strong Jeremy Ray Valdez) and Julian (
But Jason and Derek don't initially know that Bobby and Julian are G-men, much less that they've been sent undercover by their FBI bosses (
Ramirez over-relies on flashbacks and on-the-nose narration; a pivotal midpoint murder is also clunkily rendered. There is, however, a heartfelt thread here that keeps us invested in Bobby's fraught journey. If only the emotions had been applied with a lighter, more nuanced hand.
MPAA rating: R for violence and language throughout, sexual content/nudity and some drug use.
Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.
Playing: At select AMC theaters.