Everyone has a moment when they realize they’ve peaked. Maybe the so-called midlife is a reflex from this. You’re sitting on the couch, watching Jeopardy, still trying to figure out why they ask with answers and answer with questions, and it hits you. You’ll never be high school quarterback again. You’ll never feel as important, as loved and admired as you did then. It’s crippling, but this realization comes upon all of us in its own way. For Vivica A. Fox, you can just about see her replaying her time on the set of Kill Bill wondering where it all went wrong. For Daniel Baldwin, you’re almost positive that he’s drinking his way to forgetting that his highest achievement was John Carpenter’s Vampires.
If I’m certain of anything, it’s that Crossbreed is a midlife crisis of a film. It’s the valley that reveals just how far from the mountain’s peak you’ve tumbled.
Director: Brandon Slagle
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Straight from the opening space fight, which looks something like if Ed Wood filmed an intergalactic adventure on a Playstation One, Crossbreed lets you know that if you’re not somehow being paid to be involved with this movie, then you have absolutely no right being anywhere near the thing. It doesn’t get better than this. It doesn’t get worse, either. It remains exactly this bad for a solid hour-and-a-half.
Cut away from the space fight (of which they could only afford about fifteen seconds), and we’re inside one of the ships. A man who looks like if a high school janitor dressed as Judge Dredd for a Halloween party approaches a contained alien creature. This is the titular crossbreed. He’s trying to get it safely into government hands, but alas another character who’s dressed like a high school assistant principal came to the same party as “Star Trek” points a gun at him and murders him--using bullets, which is weird in a world where spacecraft shoot giant lasers at each other. Not that it matters, but pre-installed laser graphics would have been cheaper than the four dots of blood they pelt on the alien’s container to let us know Dredd is dead.
As we move forward, we find that this alien is a crossbreed between one alien race that isn’t happy with the humans--which we never see--and some other unknown race. It’s going to be used as a biological weapon to destroy mankind, unless a ragtag group of mercenaries can band together and retrieve it. You can guess where this is going.
In struts Adam Ryker (Stink Fisher, using his porn name I guess), tough guy and bar owner who’s been out of the game since his wife died. Lo and behold, however, as Secretary of Defense Weathers (Daniel Baldwin) arrives and tells him that he’s the only one that can do the job with orders straight from the President of the United States of America herself, Ellen Henricksen (Vivica A. Fox). Ryker doesn’t want to accept, but accepts anyway, because someone paid for them to make this movie. Then, cue the getting-the-gang-back-together montage ala Gone in 60 Seconds, and they’re ready for action.
I don’t know if half of Daniel Baldwin’s lines are gags that director Brandon Slagle decided to leave in or if he’s supposed to be a yukster, but you can just about smell Jack Daniels on his breath. Fox will finish briefing some military goon saying, “You are dismissed,” and Baldwin nudges her, all, “I always wanted to say that. ‘You are dismissed.’ I love that shit.” An extra half-second of Vivica A. Fox looking like she’s focusing all her energies to escape her own body, and cut to the next scene.
Worth noting is that since neither Fox nor Baldwin are on the mercenary team, they’re actually in about ten minutes of the movie total. Who would’ve guessed that the people featured front and center on the poster and trailers are just about nowhere to be seen in the film proper? What we’re left with is a group of frat boys straight down to an “I’M HERE FOR THE GANG BANG” T-shirt running around a space ship while shooting and shouting about how much they love fucking people’s sisters and eating steak.
Look, I love a good steak-and-fuck joke as much as the next guy, but these are just lazy. They have an almost minute-long gag where they laugh after finding out that the new guy (everyone calls him Newb, because everyone in this hyperspace future still loves Halo) is named Francis. Van Wilder is shaking his head in dismay. Halfway through the movie, the crew changes the new guy’s nickname from Newb to Space Jesus, as well. I don’t know why.
The action is some of the worst I’ve seen in a movie. Punches are stiff and obvious, often without so much as a sound-effect, so it’s just one guy moving his fist toward another guy’s face, and then that guy turns his head and grunts. CGI bullets fly wherever they want. There’s almost no blood to speak of. The alien slashes one dude’s throat with its tail, and he falls backward and dies with the camera careful not to show his neck, but it slips, and you see that he’s perfectly fine. Another guy is downright mauled head-to-toe by the monster, and there’s not a splotch of red on the man when he’s running away. How much can corn syrup cost? Hell, you can have these bros bleed Bud, if you want. Just give us something.
The crossbreed itself looks like if someone wanted to make porn parodies for both Alien and Avatar but could only afford one costume. Still it’s the best looking thing in the movie. Its slimy and weird. It has a transformation toward the end of the movie, but I have no idea what it signifies or what sort of powers the alien has. Nothing is really explained about the creature. It just is.
Also, the mercenaries don’t even capture it. They just leave it in the tunnels under the White House and tell the president to deal with it.
Crossbreed is a movie that leaves everyone pining for the glory years. I’m sure even Stink Fisher thought back on his time as a cafeteria prisoner in Adam Sandler’s The Longest Yard with rose-tinted glasses. I would never dare give someone a reason to watch this movie, but I do have to admit that at one point Daniel Baldwin sees the two surviving mercenaries run into the White House and with somehow perfect delivery says, “Well, well, well, if it isn’t Fuck and You.” At that point, his drunken-uncle charm finally got a smirk out of me.