Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

You might remember that recent Street Fighter movie. You might remember that almost everything about that movie was awful. I mention this because one of the worst things about that awful movie was Chris Klein’s performance as a ‘grizzled angry’ Interpol agent. Now when I reviewed that movie however long ago I didn’t mention Chris Klein and his misguided, damn near comical performance in that movie because even if Mr. Klein had been great in that movie, Street Fighter still would’ve been terrible and it would’ve sounded like I was picking on the boy. Picking on people is something we don’t do here at the FCU… it’s just not cool. Unfortunately with this little crime movie here, ‘Caught in the Crossfire’, it’s pretty clear that ‘grizzled angry’ law enforcement officer is simply something the young man doesn’t do well. This movie is almost worth seeing just to watch Klein sneer, and furrow his eyebrows and smirk and curl his lip. But Unlike Street Fighter Klein had a big part in this movie. This was his movie. I guess the producers of this movie didn’t watch Street Fighter. They really should’ve watched Street Fighter. Seriously.

I’m not sure which big dirty urban city this movie takes place in but I know they must be close to the Canadian border and I’m thinking they shot this thing right here in Detroit. Regardless officers Briggs (Klein) and Shepherd (Adam Rodriguez) are carting around police informant Tino (Curtis Jackson) as they search this city for a cop killer. Soon they get the call that they have this armed suspected cop killer cornered with Shepherd trying to talk the suspect down but Briggs itching to blow him away considering this cop was a friend of his. It doesn’t end well for this suspect. Nor does it end well for this informant in the back seat.

The powers that be, these powers being represented by Police Captain Emmett (Richard T. Jones) and Lt. Michaels (Matthew Matthias), need to know what the hell went down. They have a couple of dead cops, a number of dead criminals, violated civil rights, unorthodox police practices and two really tired cops to grill about it all. Briggs thinks the death of the perp was a righteous kill but Shepherd, through a series of flashbacks of their immediate investigation, is convinced that something is terribly wrong. In fact believes he has concrete evidence that there is a dirty cop in their midst and he thinks he might know who that dirty cop is.

Well, there’s a dirty cop amongst us allright. The number one question is, of course, who can it be? The second question is ‘will you care?’ Hmmm…. I did kind of. Just a little bit. Then Chris Klein sneered at me again.

Let’s set my man Chris Klein aside for a moment, as difficult as this may be considering he’s in almost every scene in this movie, and examine what we have here with ‘Caught in the Crossfire’. There are some things that this movie does have working for it. I liked the gritty washed out look, I thought Adam Rodriguez gave a solid, if not over-the-top performance as the cop searching for the truth, the narrative was reasonable and stayed within itself, that is up until the completely ridiculous ending, and Richard T. Jones was in this movie. You can never discount the Richard T. Jones factor in any movie the man shows up in. But back to the ending… whatever sense this movie might’ve been making, the crazy shootout style twisty conclusion introduces all kinds of plot holes and insanity and lunacy into a film that could ill afford any of this nonsense.

Why did ‘Caught in the Crossfire’ have such a thin margin of error? Damn if it isn’t time bring Chris Klein back into the picture. Whenever he was on the screen and he started making those odd facial expressions, expressions which I assume is his interpretation of what a grizzled cop would be like, you pretty much forgot the movie you were watching and just locked in on his face. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe this is another form of that ever elusive thing called ‘screen presence’. Truthfully, the thing I remember most about this movie is Chris Klein’s face. Like I mentioned, Adam Rodriguez tried to go over the top but Chris Klein totally slayed his ass and trumped Rodriguez with the big joker (that's an obscure 'Spades' reference my friends). Just so you know we’re not picking on the man because we like Chris Klein. Just a few months back we saw him in this movie ‘Play Dead’ in which he played a washed up actor and he was pretty good in that movie. But this one?

Since I actually saw 'Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li’ and the producers of this movie clearly did not, a critical casting error was made. Like who thought was it was a good idea to make 50 cent a frightened police informant? Here’s what I would’ve done, keenly aware that I have no talent or ability for this kind of thing, but I probably would’ve opted to put 50 cent in the role of the angry, grizzled police detective and made Chris Klein the frightened police informant. Problem solved. Fiddy might not be Sidney Poitier, but I know he can do angry cop, and I just saw Klein play a scaredy cat and play it well.

But would’ve any of these sage suggestions have made ‘Caught in the Crossfire’ any better? Yes… yes it would’ve. No doubt. Guaranteed.

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