A Night In Old Mexico was, in point of fact, only close to being a night across the border. From my understanding none of the actual filming was done in Matamoros, or anywhere inside Mexico. It was filmed in Brownsville Texas and in Cameron County, right across from Matamoros and Mexico. While one of the major drivers of the plot is the Mexican and American Drug War, ironically this is what shut down the possibility of shooting in Mexico. In 2013 when “A Night In Old Mexico” was filmed most casual visitors had long since departed from the Mexican border zones to other locales. Active gang warfare was raging with a very high body count and the Mexican Border Towns across the Rio Grande from Texas were some of the most dangerous municipalities in all the world. They still are. Some day their story will be told, but now it seems too soon.
This being said, Brownsville is one of the most Mexican appearing metropolitan areas in the United States, but as they say in Texas: From San Antonio south is “medio Mexico” and Brownsville may be three quarters Mexico, but it is still not Mexico. And this detracts from the other world illusion, the total immersion into the fictional reality of a movie. But as they say “No hay remedio” (nothing to be done for it).
In this movie, the drug war is in its infancy. “Cowboys” or independent operators and small timers were very much involved, Now it has become “corporatized” Independents no longer exist, everyone is part of the gang structure. Times have changed.
The screenplay was written some 35 years ago, and it could have been a period piece, but it isn’t. The cars are modern except for Red Bovie’s giant red Cadillac.
Somehow the movie is not then, and also it is not now.
The saving grace is Robert Duvall, playing the lovable Old Texas Coot that he does so well. Insulting, yet understanding, full of folk wisdom as well as pure cantankerous bullshit, hilarious and at times just downright mean, Red Bovie is a force to be reckoned with. It’s worth the price of admission to see the master artist acting out his craft. Patty Wafer played by Angie Cepeda, and “Gally” played by Jeremy Irvine as the grandson do serviceable jobs. But the money left by the crooks in the bag is all too predictable and the story from there seems all too formulaic and rushed. A high dollar action movie this is not, and a well crafted thriller this is not. At the end of the movie, A Night In Old Mexico is what it is: A fond farewell from one of the great actors of our age, with memorable lines, and a good heart.
Also it is not a comic book super hero film…That means a whole lot right there. It is in limited release now, but available on video and streaming video.
Red Bovie Robert Duvall
Patty Wafer Angie Cepeda
Cholo Joaquin Cosio
Gally Jeremy Irvine
Panama Luis Tosar