(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: BAJA reminds the viewer of the 1980s "school break" and "student mischief" films. It is the story of a group of 22-year-olds each with his own agenda for taking a trip on a very fancy RV. Their destination is in Baja California. The trip is to get away on Winter Break. They find themselves getting involved with crime and also some of the most beautiful natural scenery in Mexico. The film was written and directed by Tony Vidal. Rating: low +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

This year Mexico looms very high in the American public's awareness. Disney Studios has released COCO, which heavily features Mexican popular lore. BAJA is heavily invested in Mexican mysticism and Mexican popular music. Perhaps a certain President's political plans this year keeps Mexico very big in popular culture.

Bryan (played by Jake Thomas) is a sort of non-entity who works at a Southern California sporting goods store. His friend Todd (Chris Broch) is always working some dirty deal to make money off his friends. There is no situation so screwed up that Todd cannot make it worse. Bryan is caught between his own strict parents and his rebel friend Todd.

Bryan's parents give their son a mission. They want to have Bryan drive their RV to Cabo, leave off their RV, and pick up a car, and drive it north and home. It is a good plan and lasts just long enough for Todd to hear of it. Soon the number of people knowing of the boy's plans increases. Each new passenger has his or her reason for wanting to come. The boys find themselves dealing with gangsters and prostitutes. They also find their way to some astoundingly scenic landscapes.

Joining in the festivities is a Mexican Shaman played by the ever- engaging Mark Margolis. Margolis has a cult of fans since he played the enigmatic "Alberto the Shadow" a Latin-American assassin in 1983's SCARFACE and later an equally mysterious Cabalistic rabbi in the 1998 PI.

Eventually under the influence of Margolis' character the order of business turns to turns to a mystical appreciation of the natural beauty of the area.

The story is more sophisticated than it at first appears, but it is not tremendously original or insightful. I rate BAJA` a low +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.

BAJA will have a limited release to theaters on April 13.

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					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2018 Mark R. Leeper