Cross (2011)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Cross</strong> (2011)

(On-demand Video, March 2012) As honorable it is to try to find something nice about every film, no matter how low-budget or low-imagination they can be, sometimes there’s no going around saying it outright: Cross is a bad, bad movie, and the fact that it’s interestingly flawed doesn’t make it any better. At least its first five minutes won’t create any false hopes:  From the first moments, the awkward attempts at humor, the cringe-worthy macho bluster, the incompetent direction, the terrible dialogue, the low-quality no-originality pseudo-comics introduction, the subtitles standing in lieu of characterization… everything about this film stinks of bad ideas piled on top of each other.  The plot is a lame variation on overused urban horror clichés, and the development has trouble making it feel interesting.  The presence of Vinnie Jones as the antagonist brings to mind the similar The Bleeding, except that that Cross has even more macho attitude and even less charm.  The film’s most thought-provoking facet is the casting: For a film having reportedly cost a mere two million dollars (and looking like it), how did it attract name actors such as Jones, Michael Duncan Clarke, Jake Busey (who does get a few of the film’s better lines) and Tom Sizemore?  We may never know, but the result really doesn’t do anyone any favors.  Cross often strays into unintentional comedy, but in such a plodding way that it’s more a pitiful sight than a guilty pleasure.  It introduces a flurry of characters but barely make use of a few of them.  It aims for macho swagger without having the substance to back it up.  In many ways, Cross attempts tricks that would work in better movies, but is so badly-made that the attempts all backfire and make the film feel even cheaper than it is.  The focus on meaningless violence, big guns, scantily-dressed women, muscle cars and comic-book-inspired fantasy elements make Cross feel juvenile in ways that most kids’ movies aren’t, and it’s hard to respect the results.  This is as low as filmmaking can go and if it isn’t, I don’t want to hear about it.

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