I don’t like to throw around the words “cringe-worthy”, “terrible” or “awful” in the opening sentence of a film review, but Crossbreed is all of the above – and then some. I just want to lay down that fact early. Set in the future, a team of *cough* expert military veterans are hired by the New United States of American government to retrieve an alien bio-weapon that’s been stolen. It’s a good premise that could have been a fun B-grade experience and I love a “good” B-grade movie. Alas, this wasn’t the case.
Directed by Brandon Slagle (House of Manson, The Black Dahlia Haunting), Crossbreed starts with the theft of the alien bio-weapon (Devanny Pinn). With the bio-weapon in the wrong hands, Secretary of Defense Weathers (Daniel Baldwin) visits Adam ‘Boss’ Ryker (Stink Fisher) at his bar and on behalf of President Ellen Henricksen (Vivica A. Fox), hires him to put together a team of elite mercenaries to go and retrieve the purloined weapon. Ryker is desperately in need of money; take the mission (and money) or else he’ll lose the bar. Naturally, he accepts the mission.
Ryker goes through his list of contacts and puts together a team consisting of Ray ‘Slaughterhouse’ Stephenson (Antoine Lanier), Alfonso ‘Four-Eyes’ Sihft (John T. Woods), R’Reon ‘Degenerate’ Jones (Jason McNeil) and Noob (Brandyn T. Williams). We’re then given the usual trope of these characters being offered the mission while being in an environment demonstrating their character and then, in a scene very similar to that of Andrzej Bartkowiak’s Doom (2005), where they suit up with their weapons, then teleported to the space station where the alien bio-weapon is being kept. So far, so good.
From here the story degenerates quite rapidly as the film mostly consists of these men cracking endless jokes along corridors and doing a lot of nothing. Occasionally they shoot at something or get picked off one at a time as they encounter the alien. They enter the station cocky and overconfident then quickly – far too quickly for veteran soldiers – become panicked and fearful with their encounters with the alien. Occasionally we cut away to scenes with President Henricksen and Secretary of Defense Weathers that add very little to the already lacking story, which already has scenes that make little sense given the supposed experience of the soldiers and the fact they are being paid a lot of money for this job.
Now I admit, Crossbreed isn’t intended to be a serious drama or serious sci-fi military movie, and after watching the trailer I didn’t go in expecting Oscar-nominated performances. However, this didn’t make them any less cringeworthy. The acting, for the most part, is truly awful and it didn’t help that the dialogue is woeful and the actors were dressed in what looked like props taken from a toy store. Plus, half the guys looked out of shape; they certainly didn’t look the part of soldiers and they didn’t act the part. There were scenes where I swear Daniel Baldwin was just goofing around and the director just kept it in the movie.
Crossbreed is clearly “influenced” by films such as John McTiernan’s Predator, James Cameron’s Aliens and even Doom as I mentioned before. However, where Predator and Aliens succeed in portraying soldier’s that are to some degree believable on screen, Crossbreed falls short of its influences and if you want to enjoy a sci-fi film about soldiers vs aliens I’d suggest re-watching them. Honestly, the only reason I’m comparing Crossbreed to those films is to give you some context – it’s not in the same universe as any of them.
Unless you happen to be an uber fan of terrible movies – I know you’re out there – I wouldn’t wish this debacle on anybody. The premise is solid, even if the cast – and their performances – aren’t up to the job of making sense of anything. Which is really disappointing as I’m actually one of those people who enjoys a good B-grade movie as they can be a lot of fun, especially when it’s clear everyone onscreen is having as much fun as I am watching. Crossbreed, unfortunately, is not a fun experience.