Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

The tagline reads ‘To stop an ancient evil, it’s going to take Big Guns, Hard Sticks and Exploding Balls!’ So with a tagline such as that one would think that Patrick Dunham’s ‘Cross’ is going some kind of wacky adventure comedy. It’s not. What it happens to be is a low budget superhero movie, and while I can’t term ‘Cross’ a good movie, it does have balls. Ambitiously Big ones. And it also has the largest listed cast of any movie I’ve seen outside of John Woo’s ‘Red Cliff’. However I did observe in this massive cast list the name of Samantha Mumba. I didn’t see Samantha Mumba in this movie. That’s disappointing. I guess I need to dig into the DVD extras to find out what the hell happened to Samantha Mumba.

We open with this inspired comic book intro, complete with panels and speech bubbles that informs about these ancient relics which give the possessor great powers, with the Green Cross being the most powerful of these relics. It also informs us about a staff of the gods that can destroy the planet earth. It’s all very complicated.

After that we eventually meet one Detective Nitti, as played by the legendary Tom Sizemore, as he interrogates some poor girl who was assaulted in the street. Nitti doesn’t care about who assaulted this girl, just who saved her because he wants to bring these do-gooder vigilantes, who are our heroes in this movie, to justice. Just so you know, pretty much every character in this movie and every location they go to gets their own fancy freeze frame graphic of who they are and what they do. Like when we went to the bad guy Erlik’s warehouse. We got a fancy graphic that screamed ‘Erilk’s Warehouse’, even though our characters told us they were on their way there and when they got there it sure did look like a warehouse, so I probably didn’t need to be told that. Thanks anyway dude with the new fancy text graphics program.

Eventually we meet our main character, that being the super depressed Callan (Brian Austin Green) who is the present caretaker of the Green Cross. Callan is sad and stuff because his dad, the previous Cross caretaker, died in his arms when he was a kid and

because his girl died by his side a little while back, possibly because he’s probably the worst superhero ever. What Callan and his crew are trying to do right now is stop his arch enemy, the aforementioned Erlik (Michael Clarke Duncan), from snatching up the descendents of the Greek Gods… who all happen to be really hot chicks… for some nefarious purpose. This nefarious purpose is being spearheaded by the totally evil Gunnar (Vinne Jones) and the endgame that Gunnar has planned is about as nefarious as it gets.

The task for Callan and his team of munitions experts is to stop Erlik from snatching up the descendents of the gods, which they aren’t very good at, and at the very least stop Gunnar from doing this ridiculously evil thing that he has planned. This is going to be difficult for Callan because he lost his all powerful Cross. See what I mean about being the worst superhero ever?

Ah… where to start with this one, a movie that has a cast of thousands and forty three listed producers. Right off the bat we can tell you that ‘Cross’ would’ve benefited greatly from seeing more of The Cross in action, because the ‘Cross’ that is emblazoned across that awesome box cover did almost nothing in this movie, and we also could’ve used a little less B-Actor cameo over-acting. I realize that a lot of these b-actors are listed among the laundry list of producers so that might’ve difficult, but let’s say you completely got rid of Tom Sizemore’s bookend scenes, and nobody loves my Detroit homeboy Tom Sizemore more than me, but if you got rid of his scenes, I don’t think you would have missed them. There was also a Danny Trejo cameo in this movie, and I don’t know what they had to pay Danny for this, but if they could’ve lost that as well and applied those funds to the Cross special effects budget... I wouldn’t have been mad at that.

You see I enjoyed the ambitious nature of ‘Cross’, I enjoyed the wacky concept of the hot chick descendents of the Greek Gods and using their blood to make a WMD, though we probably could’ve discarded with Robert Carradine’s overacting phlebotomist cameo too. Brian Austin Green showed in ‘The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ that he can do a depressed warrior pretty damned effectively when need be, and do you think Michael Clarke Duncan can play a large, oppressive, mean, well dressed bad guy? Yeah, he can do that. Vinnie Jones? Well, I was watching this movie with my brother and when Vinnie showed back up in this movie I mentioned to him that I had forgotten that Vinne was even in this movie. He replied with ‘Vinnie probably forgot too’. Truly, these roles that Vinnie Jones takes on are starting to get a little blurry since I’ve seen him in close to a half dozen movies in the last few months, doing the same damn thing in each one. More power to the man. Besides, Vinnie wasn’t the problem with ‘Cross’.

No sir, what ‘Cross’ desperately needed was a braver edit. Most scenes meandered far too long, some scenes were completely unnecessary, the preponderance of text overlays was overkill, and again there wasn’t enough Cross action. Before the final scene Callan might have used his awesome Cross once? Maybe twice?

Like we said, we did admire the effort with the crazy comic book inspired story and the overly colorful cinematography, but if they could’ve found a way to shave a good twenty minutes off this movie, compress it a bit, bravely snip a few b-actors… we might have had a mini-classic. Instead we are kind of stuck with a minor mess.

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