Welcome to Puerto Vallarta! The sun is hot, the culture is exotic and life is cheap, except when two American army officers are assassinated in broad daylight.
Clayton Price (Scott Glenn) is a government assassin who may have gone off the reservation. He offers a writer Danny Pastor (Craig Wasson) and his Mexican wife Maria (Giovanna Zacharias) five thousand dollars if they will drive him over the boarder into the United States. Danny accepts despite his wife’s admonition, believing the experience may inspire him to write another novel.
The hit sets alarms ringing in Mexico as they attempt to flush out the killer. This leads to alerting CIA contact Walter McGrane (Harvey Keitel) to what had taken place in Mexico earlier that day. He along with a young up and coming government agent Neil Weatherford (the late Jonathan Brandis) are assigned to track down Price and kill him.
As they near the border, the couple begins to unravel Price’s secret yet it does not jeopardize their safety in an atypical hostage situation.
There is a hint of remorse and self-loathing with every man who falls between Price’s sharp aim. He initially became a trained killer in the war and his instinct and inability to find another vocation has kept him killing. Frankenstein’s monster was a victim of his creator and Price has come from an assembly line of government assassins pre-programmed to ignore their own humanity.
Price’s only crime in the eyes of the government is that at one point in time he followed his own intuition and agenda. The biggest threat is free thought.
The trip makes all three characters get in touch with the suppressed sub-sections of their inner-selves as the stone cold killer discovers his own humanity that was lost so long ago and the innocent couple have a crash course in peccancy. Maria is the crossroads to the opposite ends of the spectrum which is the point where the two men meet and crossover. Both evil and innocence have shades of grey.
Price’s dreams are his conscience and revenge is the enemy that teaches him to think.
A memorable film with substance has a first class script, well-crafted characters and relaxed subtle direction. The film loses its way a little in the last twenty minutes, however “Puerto Vallarta Squeeze” can be forgiven for such shortcomings based on a superb opening two acts. Scott Glenn shows in this film why he should be a more prominent leading man and not just a supporting player.
An interesting little piece with a fantastic cast and impactful violence is sure to find a loyal following somewhere down the line. “Puerto Vallarta Squeeze” has ambiguously sat on the shelf since its completion in 2003 with the exception of the odd private screening and will finally be released on DVD in the States on April 11, 2006.