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La Mission Movie Review & Trailer

DVD Release Date: August 10, 2010

Review by Compay for


Starring: Benjamin Bratt, Jesse Borrego, Jeremey Ray Valdez, Talisa Soto, Kevin Michael Richardson and Erika Alexander


Benjamin Bratt in LA Mission

La Mission, set in the streets of San Francisco's Mission District, is easily the most powerful Latin-interest film released in years.  Peruvian leading man Benjamin Bratt's brother Peter Bratt directed the film, which focuses on the relationship between a macho bus driver and his son.


Benjamin Bratt is nothing short of brilliant as the tatted-up Che Rivera, a recovering alcoholic with a passion for lowriders, and pride for the academic achievements of his son Jesse.  Bratt channels his inner pachuco with genuine swag, in a role destined for him to play.


Che is old-school Chicano to the bone, which makes for tremendous conflict when he discovers his son's sexual orientation.  Rivera's son Jesse is played by Jeremy Ray Valdez, a young Latino with serious acting chops, and an infectious smile.  Valdez and Bratt share an incredible on-screen chemistry as father and son, and Rivera's intolerance is something many Hispanic viewers will recognize.  The stigma attached to homosexuality amongst old-school (and largely Roman-Catholic) Latinos is something almost never confronted in film. 


For those of you already saying, "Chale, I'm not going to watch this," calm down.  This isn't a "gay" movie, but it does address issues that Latinos tend to sweep under the rug.  Jesse's orientation serves as a means of revealing who his father Che really is, and uncovering the pain and rage that needed to be healed in the ex-convict.  Helping Che battle his inner demons is Lena, the earthy and extremely sexy neighbor who works for a woman's shelter.  Played by beautiful morena Erika Alexander (of Living Single fame), Lena attempts to heal the rift between father and son, while dealing with her own fears of Che.  Before the film is over, expect plenty of love, anger, and loss.


The rest of the supporting cast also make for an interesting movie.  Jesse Borrego, best remembered as the artist Cruz from Bound by Honor, is reunited on-screen with his compadre Benjamin.  Bratt's wife Talisa Soto, playing the gorgeous wife to Borrego's character, also rounds out the cast of well-known Latino actors.   One of my favorite inclusions to the cast was talented voice actor Kevin Michael Richardson, who adds plenty of great comic relief to keep the film light.


Perhaps the best aspect of this film is that it's genuine.  I've seen more than a few movies that try to work in "Latino" themes, only to come off as gimmicky.  LA Mission is a movie with alma, real soul.  From the clothing and music to the lowriders and pachuco swagger, La Mission gets it right.  If you're a car enthusiast, the ranflas in this movie are guaranteed to put a smile on your face.  I did think that the references to running a lowrider on biodiesel were tacky and out of place, but props to the film being shot on an environmentally-friendly movie set (one of the only ones in the Bay Area).


The verdict?  Hit up your local Redbox tonight and give this one a rent, or better yet cop the DVD online.  This is easily the best performance of Bratt's career, in an emotional flick that keeps it real with Latin audiences.





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