on May 8, 2004
Rutger Hauer has never been in a bad film as far as I know, at least not all bad. This is another good one. Here, he plays his usual character: tough, laconic, and always with one more surprise waiting.
It's a "save the universe" adventure with a mystical/magical accent. There's a baffled good guy - even his mother keeps him in the dark. There's a mysterious babe who recruits him into he knows not what. There are bad guys who pop up in surprising places, and this movie's places are more surprising than most. And there's Rutger. His presence is pretty much a guarantee of quality entertainment.
This film shows good workmanship throughout, good effects without going to excess, and good choreography in the bloodless fights. If you're looking for fine art or deep philosophy, you're looking for something this film never meant to give. This is an action movie, that's all. With Hauer, it's a very good action movie. Enjoy it accordingly.
on February 9, 2004
I have always been a fan of Rutger Hauer even though he has often wasted many opportunities by starring in films far beneath his abilities. Still, Hauer falls into that essential category of actors, along with the likes of Robert Duvall, Morgan Freeman, James Garner, and several others, who consistently turn in excellent performances even in the worst of films. If you want to see Hauer hit a homerun in a role, check out his turn as a German police officer in the made for cable film "Fatherland." The part where he tells his young son the story about the watchmaker is one of the most moving, mesmerizing scenes ever filmed. If you wish to see Hauer slumming his way through a movie, but still doing a great job, check out the nifty, straight to video science fiction actioner "Crossworlds." I first saw this movie on HBO back in the late 1990s, and always liked it for some vague reason I could never put my finger on. When I had the opportunity to view it again recently after not seeing it for five years or so, I still found it immensely entertaining.
Josh Charles plays Joe Talbot, a down on his luck type of guy who never seems to get a break. He spends most of his time fretting about girls--not unusual for a guy in his early twenties--and dealing with his two raucous friends Steve and Stu (with Jack Black in the role of boisterous Steve). At a party thrown by mutual acquaintances, Talbot spots an intriguing blonde woman staring at him from across the room. She disappears soon after only to reappear later in Talbot's room in time to warn him about some sort of calamity about to occur. It turns out this woman, Laura (Andrea Roth), is an agent for some extra-dimensional rebel group out to stop a very evil man from gaining possession of a powerful object. Predictably, Joe has this object, a crystal, on a necklace he wears everywhere he goes. Why? The gem was a gift from his father, an explorer and adventurer who died mysteriously during an excursion to an Albanian castle many years ago. Well, the same guy who wants the crystal from Joe also killed the young man's father for the same reason. This man's name is Ferris, who is some sort of powerful wizard with a smart mouth and a touchy ego, and he wants the crystal because it will allow him and his armies to conquer multiple worlds in different dimensions.
Joe Talbot ends up fleeing through various weird worlds with Laura when Ferris sends his henchman after the hapless duo. The two heroes meet up with A.T. (Rutger Hauer), a one-time associate of Ferris who ultimately rebelled against the idea of conquering other worlds and joined the resistance. The three set out on a mission to stop Ferris and save the world(s). Lots of slightly corny hijinks occur, like sudden shifts into other dimensions, Hauer hamming it up as a cynical master type trying to instruct the kiddies on how to wage intergalactic war (which apparently involves drinking lots of coffee and tapping the desert floor with a stick while chanting like an Indian), and the amiable insults issuing from the mouths of the characters. Ferris, his toady Rebo (!), Joe, Laura, and A.T. all yuck it up on a regular basis. Director Krishna Rao spices up his film with some explosions and lots of gunfire. A few special effects even pop up from time to time, the best one being a scene in which Talbot, Laura, and A.T. find themselves in an elevator that suddenly falls apart into a bottomless chasm. It's all an illusion, of course, but listening to A.T. trying to convince Joe and Laura not to believe in it is amusing.
"Crossworlds" is definitely a low budget flick. Some of the special effects look slightly cheesy, the dialogue isn't always top notch, and using a red lens to portray a desert as another dimension--with the never explained ability to make Charles's character violently ill, no less--is unintentionally funny. But the performances, especially from Josh Charles and Rutger Hauer, are solid. Jack Black does his usual over the top shtick a few years before he made it big, making a small mark on the film even though he only appears for a few minutes. The script regrettably relegates Andrea Roth's Laura character to the role of eye candy, requiring her to run around in a little skirt and essentially act as an intermediary between the verbal sparrings of Hauer and Charles. Sure, the movie tends to confuse the first time you watch it, but subsequent viewings will clear up things a little bit. Obviously, there are plot holes here, some the size of Montana, but who cares? "Crossworlds" still manages to entertain for ninety minutes, and that's enough for me.
The DVD edition lacks any substantive extras outside of the obligatory trailer and a fullscreen or widescreen option. "Crossworlds" isn't Rutger Hauer's best film role, not by a long shot, but even when he sleepwalks through his role--and let's be fair, he does sleepwalk here--he still runs rings around everyone else. I have seen numerous online critics viciously attack this movie as unwatchable low-grade schlock. Well, they are wrong. "Crossworlds" is definitely worth a rental and will probably surprise more often than it disappoints. Enjoy!
on June 21, 2015
I regard "Crossworlds" as a pleasant surprise, when it comes to fantasy/action movies. This wasn't a big budget film, and it may have a look of a "Made for TV" movie, but, the movie is quite enjoyable. Afterall, it stars Ruger Hauer (one of my all-time favorite actors) the main reason I bought the movie. But all the performances are good and, more importantly, it is not a boring movie. I mean, even Jack Black is in it (just a few scenes, which is enough for me). Another "Hidden Gem" of a movie for me. Never heard of this movie, but, it sounded interesting (and Ruger was in it) so I decided to take a chance and purchase it. Good choice.