Stars: Brian Austin Green, Danny Trejo, Vinnie Jones, C. Thomas Howell, Michael Clarke Duncan, Patrick Durham, Tom Sizemore, Lori Heuring, Tim Abell, André Gordon | Written and Directed by Patrick Durham
It’s hard to believe that 2011 superhero movie Cross made enough money, or had enough of a fanbase to warrant a sequel, but here we are 6 years after the original, back in action with most of the same cast. Where as the first film, and it’s green Celtic power-providing amulet, was timed to cash-in on that other “green” superhero movie starring Ryan Reynolds, this time round however there’s no similar superhero movie to cash in on. And this time round the genre has had [much] more than it’s fair share of good, bad and VERY bad movies.
I wonder which category Cross Wars falls into? If you have to guess, well…
Cross Wars continues the story of Callan (Green), the street-level hero armed with a powerful ancient Cross amulet, and his team of weapons experts – who battle local thugs and heinous criminals in and around LA. When a ruthless villain named Muerte (Trejo) threatens to kill Callan’s crew, he and his team join forces with an all-girl crime-fighting squad led by Riley – who has an ancient amulet of her own! But Muerte is not working alone. He has resurrected the evil immortal Gunnar (Jones) – as seen in the first film as well – who has his own plans to jump-start an apocalypse.
Remember the 90s? When everyone was trying to grab some of that Tim Burton Batman money? Remember how bad a lot of those movies were? Especially those direct-to-VHS affairs that were all ideas, no budgets and had casts filled with unknowns. Well Cross Wars looks and feels like one of those movies.
Yet sadly, Cross Wars doesn’t even have the camp factor a lot of those 90s superhero movies had (there’s something cheesily charming about the likes of Generation X and the JLA TV movie); instead everyone takes things waaaay too seriously which means the end result is so stilted and wooden that’s there’s no way this film could ever actually be taken seriously. It’s honestly an odd dichotomy. What’s also odd – and very bizarre – is the constant cutaways to the brother and sister duo literally READING the comic book we’re watching. Talk about heavy-handed storytelling (which is only compounded by the ridiculous “they should make a movie out of this” final line)
The best way to describe Cross Wars is that it’s a sub-The Asylum superhero movie. Actually, the Asylum’s superhero movies: Sinister Squad and Avengers Grimm are much, MUCH better than this poor attempt. The film truly feels like a bunch of friends got together to make a film, guerilla style, on the streets of Los Angeles with slightly better than usual equipment (at least the film looks like it was filmed on legit cameras, not off-the-shelf HD units, though the less about the crap CGI the better) and somehow persuaded – i.e. paid them a shit ton of money for a few hours work – a bunch of named actors to make cameos to add saleability to the finished product. Either that or someone on the production crew had dirt on everyone appearing in the movie and they couldn’t say no!
A chore to watch, Cross Wars is for cinematic masochists only. Please let’s NOT have a hinted-at third Cross film…