Fight Film Friday: Cross

Posted: May 27, 2011 in fight film friday
Tags: ,

USA, 2011
Genre: Action, Fantasy
104 minutes

A team of elite vigilantes must stop a man with an ancient relic from destroying the world.

Cross is an interesting mash-up of several different elements, making it a strange and sometimes entertaining piece of film. Starring Brian Austin Green from Beverly Hills, 90210, it’s a comic book style fantasy in modern Los Angeles, where Green’s character Callan wields a magic pendant to lead an eclectic team of military types in some kind of ongoing war with the city’s criminal underground. With him are Jake Busey, from Starship Troopers, and Patrick Durham, the producer, writer, and director of the film, along with several other B-movie actors. The most notable names attached are Michael Clarke Duncan and Vinnie Jones, who play the villains in this bizarre cast. It’s hard to imagine who had the idea to assemble this team, as performances range from somewhat decent to downright ridiculous. Despite doing his fair share of awful movies, I can’t help but feel that Duncan is better than this, especially given who he needed to work with here. I will admit that there is a certain kind of entertainment from watching the actors do what they can with the script. Durham’s story is like some kind of high school fantasy, where he and his friends write their own commando epic, starring themselves as a motley crew of colorful characters, taking down crime with lots of guns and magic powers. It’s completely over the top, but unfortunately the cast doesn’t really take it as far as it needed to be. For this kind of riffing, the dialogue needed some serious Nic Cage level scene chewing, and the actors just didn’t deliver. The one exception to this would have to be Robert Carradine, who plays the mad scientist helping to assemble the magic staff to destroy Earth. To be clear, there is a source of silliness and unintentional humor here, but even in that respect it’s only mediocre.

As a piece of film, Durham’s inexperience is pretty apparent. It feels like it was shot to be a television drama, with lots of stock footage of the Los Angeles skyline and terrible special effects. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such ketchup-looking fake blood since the project from I was in junior high when we actually used ketchup. There are also a lot of motion graphic elements to give every character their own mini title card, and they all look uniformly bland. While the gun scenes all look appropriately silly with their poorly done muzzle flashes, the little bits of hand fight choreography didn’t look nearly as bad by comparison. Just about everything in the movie screams cheap and off-the-cuff film-making, possibly due to the absolutely ridiculous number of producers attached to the project. IMDB lists at least 25 different people with a producer credit, which makes me wonder just how this thing got made in the first place. I can’t see how people took a look at the script and kept asking more and more people to sign on to save the movie from fading away. Cross is a D-level movie, and while it might be worth a drinking-game viewing with some friends at home, there are certainly better bad films out there.

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