The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Crossworlds (1996)

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In looking to get more Rutger Hauer on the DTVC, I found this potential gem on Watch Instantly. I also saw the name Jack Black, which made it all the more intriguing. It's just a question of whether or not this is a Hauer bait-and-switch. Let's hope it's not.

Crossworlds is about a world in another dimension or something that's been ruled by an evil dictatorship, the only threat to their hegemony a small resistance group. This regime isn't satisfied by ruling this world though, no way, they want other worlds, and other dimensions. To do this, they need a staff and a crystal in order to open inter-dimensional gates-- the staff in a US museum, the crystal being held by an art student, played by Josh Charles. Now the resistance and the tyrant are fighting for Charles and his crystal, with the fate of the universe in his hands. Will he make it happen?

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I'm not sure where to go with this one. It's not bad, but we get a good chunk of set up and plot exposition so they can lay out the intricacies of this sci-fi world they've created. That's never a good thing, and the film suffered for it. When things were moving though, it was pretty enjoyable. Hauer was in it a fair amount, playing a resistance agent called out of retirement, so at least this wasn't a bait-and-switch. Though Charles's character was a little fatuous-- the classic everyday Joe somehow turns into a hero in a few days crap that's always less believable than the idea of staffs and crystals creating inter-dimensional gateways-- he made it work better than most. I also liked Stuart Wilson and Perry Anzilotti as baddies, and Andrea Roth as the resistance agent sent to get Charles and meet up with Hauer. Let's say not the best, but not horrible either.

While Hauer has more of a supporting part, as I said above, it's not an out-and-out bait-and-switch. He plays something of a cantankerous retiree, wise and no nonsense, which he's very good at. I went through the Hauer tag, which is now up to 16 films and one imdb credit where he doesn't appear (Hunt for Eagle One: Crash Point). There's really only about four or five true Hauer bait-and-switches, which is interesting, because the bait-and-switch was named for him. I don't know if I should seek out more bait-and-switches in the future so that term can have more meaning, or if I should avoid them like I usually do so we get more quality Hauer up here.

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Earlier this week I reviewed Do You Wanna Know a Secret? starring Joey "Joseph" Lawrence, and wouldn't you know, the main character in this film is named "Joe" but always has people call him "Joseph". Whoa! I wonder, if Joey "Joseph" Lawrence had seen this movie and seen how the character getting angry when people didn't call him Joseph was played for laughs, would he have still insisted on the name change? One thing people don't realize about the Ricky/Rick Schroeder situation, was that that was an accident. A buddy had radio hosts Mark and Bryan give him a wake up call on his birthday, and when he answered the phone and they asked if he was Ricky Schroeder, he responded "yeah, this is Rick", and they thought he was correcting them and they made the big deal about it. Maybe that's what happened with Joey "Joseph" Lawrence too. Did Joey McIntyre ever convert to "Joe" or "Joseph" too?

I want to go back to the idea of the average guy who's turned into a hero over a few days. It's always been silly to me, and often needlessly so. In this film, for instance, Josh Charles's character was given this crystal as his birthright from his father, and even though his father died when he was young, his mother knew all about it. How hard would it have been to have had his mom send him to the Marines so he could learn how to fight, or at the very least take a few Judo lessons. Then, when all this crap happens, instead of expecting us to believe the guy that five minutes ago was whining and freaked out actually has something legitimate to bring to the table, at least there's something in his background that makes sense. Otherwise, if we're getting an average everyday guy kind of character, keep it consistent, maybe have him whine and freak out less as the film goes on, but have the female lead, who we know can fight, continue to be the hero.

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Jack Black has a small cameo as one of Josh Charles's boozing buddies. Not as cool as his appearance on Yo Gabbah Gabbah!, but still pretty sweet. He crushes a beer can on his forehead, and yells a lot, but in that funny Jack Black sort of way. When he did this one, he was only a few years away from breaking out and becoming the big star he is today. As an aside, this is not the first Jack Black film we've done at the DTVC. He had a small part in Waterworld.

This is on Watch Instantly, so it's not much of an investment here in the States. I think in that capacity, or as a $2 thrift store pick up, this isn't bad. Decent Hauer, not too long of a running time, and some pretty good action. Not the best, but we've seen a lot worst.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115985/

5 comments:

  1. Kudos on mentioning Jack Black's appearance in Yo Gabba Gabba! After watching Ladyhawke and Hobo With a Shotgun I will usually pick up anything with Rutger Hauer in it.

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  2. Great review! Though it doesn't sound like something I'd want to invest my time in when there are other badass films out there to do that. But I did always wonder about this one though. Glad you cleared that up for me. I was wondering, is there any action of any kind in here?

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  3. Gotta love the Jack Black on Yo Gabbah Gabbah! appearance, especially since he needed queue cards to remember the words to the songs. And if you're big on Hauer, I'd check this one out.

    If you're having doubts robotGEEK, I'd skip this, because, as you said, there's plenty of other stuff out there to review. There is some action, but it's mitigated somewhat by the need to gives us the backstory, so not enough action in my opinion.

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  4. For me the worst Rutger Hauer film was Omega Doom...wow...what a stinker! So boring...nothing happens! But Crossworlds I remember enjoying. It's a low budget film that was big on ideas.

    Jack Black in Never Ending Story III, wow now there's a bad movie to be in!

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  5. Looks interesting, i'll have to give it a shot. Jack Black also had a bit part in "The Cable Guy" and had an uncredited cameo in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.

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