One of the most commonly asked what if questions, is the question about superpowers. If you were a superhero, what would be your superpower? My initial reaction is X-Ray vision because I am after all a dirty old man. After some thoughtful moments, I do however come up with the ability to instantly adapt. There are many moments where I might feel out of place or unable to help. But with that power, I could change that. Or maybe I will just wear a green amulet and fight bad guys like Callan in the film: Cross.
The movie opens to the pages of a comic book flipping. Wait, is this a Marvel Comics presentation? Okay, not exactly. They mention that amulets are some of the most powerful source of power in the universe. The strongest amulet, that would be the Cross of the Isles. It is green, it glows a lot. Hey, was that Machete (Danny Trejo)? Doesn’t matter, he isn’t in the rest of the movie. We also learn about the Staff of Sekhmet which has the potential to kill the whole word.
In other words, if somebody gets the Staff of Sekhmet activated, BIG BADDA BOOM. Let us move on, shall we?
It is 1981 in Los Angeles, a father explains to his son the power of the Cross of the Isles. One day, he will pass down this great power. Fast forward thirty years and all hell has broken loose. There are bodies in the street and women are being kidnapped for what we aren’t sure of just yet. There are gangs on the loose and vigilantes running amuck in this fair city. One such incident involves a girl named Samantha (played by Samantha Lonigro) who starts telling her story to Detective Nitti (played by Tom Sizemore).
She mentions that it was like World War III. Two thugs came up and knocked her on the ground. Then all of the sudden from nowhere, these guys come up and help her out. These guys were part of an elite squad, the few, the proud, the marin….ummm. Wrong elite squad. This would be the part of the show where we run down the group of vigilantes. Those who do good in style while sprouting one-liners.
There is Riot (played by Tim Abell), weapons specialist. Then we have Backfire (played by Jake Busey), he blends comedy and explosives. War (played by Patrick Durham) is armed and angry. Shark (played by John Sachar) handles close combat and likes to gamble. Back at the compound, we have Ranger, (played by Andre Gordon) a sniper and Nuke (played by Asa Holley), a weapons builder.
Also worth mentioning (if you are not confused enough) is sharpshooter Lucia (played by Lori Heuring) and communications expert Juliane (played by Stephanie Drapeau). This group of vigilantes is lead by the man with the green cross, Callan (played by Brian Austin Green). He is on a never ending quest to vanquish evil, mostly in the form of gang boss, Erlik (played by Michael Clarke Duncan). But Erlik is up to something most dastardly as we are about to find out.
Erlik has teamed up with a Viking (no he does not wear a magic helmet or drink alcohol excessively) named Gunnar (played by Vinnie Jones). Gunnar is immortal and can not die. Therefore, he wants to destroy the world. Sounds reasonable. But in order to do that, he must collect the blood of the gods. Or rather descendants of the gods which in this case just happen to be beautiful random girls. Then and only then can he activate the Staff of Sekhmet. Can Callan and his rag tag group stop them?
Have you ever wondered what a superhero movie would look like on a small budget? If you quipped back, Mystery Men, think smaller. Then you would have Cross. The movie is interesting, I will give it that. But you quite literally need pencil and paper to keep up with everybody. The movie does an admirable job by placing a quick subtitle when a new character is thrown into the mix but it is hardly enough.
Cross also has this really quirky feel. We really can’t figure out if this is a comedy or if this is a straight up action flick. It is hard to take the bad guys seriously when they are gambling over Go Fish. But then we have Vinnie Jones who is a real bad guy and basically wants to kill everybody. It is confusing but somewhat delightful at the same time. But I think the problem really starts at the main character, Callan or Brian Austin Green.
Green does not fit into a lead role very well. Sure, he looks the part (after all he is married to Megan Fox) but he is not convincing enough at all. Most of the vigilante group falls into the background too with the exception of Riot, Backfire, and Shark. Seriously, it would have worked a lot better with a 5-6 man group as opposed to platoon level group. Furthermore, Callan is the only one with super powers and can absorb bullets. So does he even need the others?
The video is in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. The video is honestly pretty average. If one is not that interested in a movie, they tend to notice things such as abandoned warehouses and other pieces of evidence indicating a really small budget. The color is not bad as long especially if you like the color green which shows up a lot. But seriously, the presentation has very little artifacts and comes off pretty clean.
For the audio portion, we get a 5.1 English Dolby Digital Track (5.1 mixes for Spanish and French also included). Sound is a mixed bag. One moment, the viewer can be engaged in a serious action scene with bullets splattering all along the sound channels. The next moment, we need to adjust the volume up on our speakers so we can hear dialogue. Thank goodness for the visual cues in this movie. The audio is one we can live with, but ridiculous uneven. Subtitles are included for English, English SDH, French and Spanish.
- Automatic Trailers: Sony Blu-Ray, Insidious, The Hit List(the first Cuba Gooding movie I would like to see in a long time, reminds me of Collateral), Quarantine 2: Terminal, Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown, and Justified Season 1
- Commentary with Director Patrick Durham: The director (and plays the character, War) starts off the commentary by mentioning there will be a sequel. Oh boy. Patrick does a good job of talking about the movie and the finer technical points. It would actually be one of the better commentaries I have listened to in a while but there is some dead space. Funny moment, but during one of the scenes the real cops actually showed up and forced them to drop their guns. Nothing came of it, but interesting nevertheless. I also like how frank Patrick is, he does a fun commentary.
- Alternate Ending 0:34: And the point of that lousy 30 seconds of my life was?
- Deleted Scenes 9:31: Seven deleted scenes are included here. Among them, an alternate opening which highlights Riot who I still looks like Tom Sizemore more so than Tom Sizemore as the detective. There is another decent scene with Sunshine (played by Susie Abromeit) as she is introduced to the rest of the group by Callan. Not a bad group of deleted scenes, just nothing really memorable either.
- Alternate Opening Animatic 1:01: A roughly drawn alternate animatic for the opening that might have been cool if it had been animated. Elsewise, kinda hard to tell.
Cross is unfortunately an example of movie that needed a budget. I honestly like the story. I even like some of the supporting characters too. But ultimately the main star and shoestring budget handicap the movie into being nothing more than a mediocre super hero flic. Too many characters are introduced and most people will follow only a handful of them until the bitter end.
The disc is also just as average as the movie finally plays out. The video and audio are okay but will not wow any of your fellow spectators with the overall presentation. The extras are a little bit better than expected mostly due to the deleted scenes and audio commentary. It is hard to recommend this movie on potential because that is the only thing this movie really had. There are nuggets of decent performances so maybe if the second one does get made, it will improve upon that. Else for now, you probably should avoid this one.