[Review] Crossbreed: I kind of love this silly thing
Picture this. When I was a teenager in the 90s, every weekend, my friends and I would rush to the local Blockbuster or Hollywood Video and scour the shelves for horror films. For those unlucky enough to not have these memories, let me briefly explain it to you. We didn’t live in a world where the entirety of current movies were available at the touch of a button. No. We relied on getting to our local video store early, so we had a chance to snag the latest releases. And, if you could, it was like finding gold.
But, more often than not, you’d continue moving down the aisles, picking up movies you never heard of; judging films by their cover. And you’d find some movies that almost looked like their big budget brothers. Except they were just a liiiiiiitttttllllle bit off.
You’d find movies like Crossbreed.
Crossbreed begins with a couple lines of text telling us what our future entails, from World War 3 in 2029 to 2060 where a space station orbiting the Earth is housing an alien crossbreed. We’re quickly introduced to the space station as a man wearing a Party City version of a Judge Dredd mask shoots a bunch of people on his way to an alien held in a cryotube. Unfortunately, the man, named Murph and played by veteran character actor Vernon Wells, meets his demise before he can secure his cargo.
Enter President of the New United States States of America Ellen Henricksen (get it?), played by Vivaca A. Fox. She and her loyal Secretary of Defense Weathers (….get it?), played by a scene-chewing Daniel Baldwin, hatch a plan to send a group of cybernetically enhanced mercenaries to the space station to retrieve said alien. Enter Adam “Boss” Ryker (Stink Fisher), who just wants to run his space bar in peace, who is forced to assemble a crew of misfits to do the mission. What follows is a heist film where the mercenaries scour a space station that looks like a souped up version of the sewers in Shocking Dark, as they hunt the crossbreed…before becoming the hunted, themselves.
Ok. So what is this movie? Well, it's the kind of movie where Daniel Baldwin chews the scenery as he channels his brother Alec’s acting style of pontificating and dramatically pausing. It reminds me of the 30 Rock episode Kidnapped By Danger, when William Baldwin’s Lance Drake Mandrell is hired to play Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy.
It's the kind of movie where one of the mercenaries (named Degenerate) sits in a sex club while a human-looking sex robot with a monotoned robotic voice continues asking him, “don’t you want me, baby?” long after he leaves the club.
It's the kind of movie where the newest member finds out his name is Noob when he picks up a DNA-encrypted gun. Where, when he’s confused about his name, his teammate helpfully asks, “Haven’t you played Halo?” and conversations about the merits of Timecop happen. As an aside, it’s nice to know that Halo is still played 40+ years down the line and people still know what Timecop is.
It's the kind of movie where the man code-named Degenerate falls into a giggling fit whenever Boss (who looks like a crossbreed of his own, between Dave Attell and a roided out Stanley Tucci) explains that their mission is a “snatch” and grab operation. Where the men don’t necessarily conversate but talk in unwitty one-liners that weren’t clever in the 90s, let alone 2060.
Where the alien crossbreed looks like, well, a cross between an Asari in Mass Effect and the alien in Species. And who very slowly stalks and mesmerizes the mercenaries once its free of its binds. And the mercenaries do very unmercenary like things that get themselves killed, like splitting up and not shooting or helping when guns are jammed.
Honestly, outside of the language and the T&A, Crossbreed feels like a movie that belonged on the SyFy channel in the years after Battlestar Galactica reigned. The ambition here eclipses the script, the acting and the budget. And yet. And yet. I had a fun time. It’s not good, but it doesn’t feel cynically driven. And I think if you chuckled or grinned at any of the above, you'll probably have a decent time.
Director and co-writer Brandon Slagle obviously put a lot of his heart into this and, behind all of the silliness, it shows. It’s the kind of love letter to the 80s and 90s ripoff science fiction horror movies I would have eaten up as a kid. It’s not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it has its charms. And it sets up a sequel that, I hate to admit, I kinda hope gets made.