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Cross Mission
(1989)
 

Director: Al Bradley                                      
Cast:
Richard Randall, Brigitte Porsh, Derter Hintz


Remember the "Sybil Danning Adventure Video" line? That was the video series that had pictures of Danning on the cover, dressed like the characters in the movie. And she would "present" the movie in footage shot at the beginning. However, it backfired badly on Danning, because (1) the movies were extreme crap like Fist of Fear - Touch of Death and Kill the Ninja, and (2) renters seeing Danning's picture on the cover though that meant that she was appearing in the movies.

Some important lessons were learned from this, but apparently the Cannon movie company either didn't learn these lessons or didn't care, and a few years later introduced their own such hosted video line, starring......Michael Dudikoff.

Michael Dudikoff?

Well, when Cannon was around, that was about the only star they had under contract (and assuming Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson had the good sense to stay away). It somehow seem appropriate for Cannon that their homegrown star was a former model that had no martial arts experience before going into the movies.

The video starts off with Dudikoff sitting in one of five or so seats in a very cheesy and tiny screening room. He tells us, "Welcome to Cannon's Action Adventure Theater!" (though he doesn't seem happy to meet us). "Since being in Hollywood, I've been lucky to work with some of the best action filmmakers in the business, in movies like American Ninja, River of Death, Platoon Leader, and the upcoming Death Sentence. It's no surprise that action/adventures movies are at the top of my list!"

(Uh, Mike, if you are reading this, could you answer: [1] If you think Steve Carver, Aaron Norris, and Sam Firstenburg are "the best" - who are the worst? [2] What ever happened to the never-made Death Sentence? And [3] that list of yours - what's the title of your list? "Genres I hate to work in?" "Genres that I can't act in?" If it's the last, it must be a long list.)

After this, we CUT to a shot on the other side of Dudikoff. He turns his head to the camera, and starts to tell us about Cross Mission. Are you thinking what I think you're thinking? Yes, you're right - it's the same first part on all the movies of this series, just adding a brief synopsis for new footage. What's the point of telling us about the movie - does he think we can't read the back of the box. Actually, for this movie, I noticed there were several errors in the plot synopsis on the box. So I guess there is need for Dudikoff in this video.

And you'd be better off just stopping at the synopsis, because the movie itself is not only a horrible Italian B-movie actioner, but so badly made and shot that you feel grimy just by watching it. This is on my list - list of worst movies of all time.

The plot: I look over my notes, just hours after watching the movie and I still can't make heads or sense of the thing. Somewhere in South America, there's a country with the name of...some name... ruled by a general called Romero. Some guy named William arrives to help Romero out, though on his journey to the general's quarters hooks up with a reporter named...I never caught her name as well.

The general has been publicly burning pot farms in view of the U.N., to keep them off his back. Actually, the general himself is behind the country's drug trade, and he and William work (I think) for some outside people who are...we never find out who.

Though lame circumstances, the reporter convinces William he's on the wrong side, and the two of them join the rebels. Bullets fly, footage is repeated, scenes are shown again at different angles, invisible and silent bullets fly out of guns, all of which might have been funny, but isn't because of the uninspired direction.

If the movie had enough unintentional humor, something might be salvaged for viewers. Well, I suppose there are a few laughs about the general, who was born with - get this - supernatural powers! I kid you not. Two scenes have the general zap the ground, and out from the puff of smoke walks a 2-foot dwarf who is his bodyguard. Yes, a bodyguard. And there's the scene when he determines if someone is lying or not by placing his hands near each side of the man's face and  blue lightning comes out of his hands and zaps the guy well.

So it's not a good movie, to say the least. I'm not a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, but this is one time that I would have liked any kind of background commentary to keep my mind off this shoddy movie. However, I suspect that the robots and co. would have a very tough time finding things to laugh about aside from the few minutes I've described.

The last thing Dudikoff says before he fades out and the movie starts is, "Join the deadliest covert action ever in.......Cross Mission" Dudikoff, how dare you leave us to do your dirty work! No wonder you aren't still there after the credits end.

Check for availability on Amazon (VHS)

See also: Crack House, America 3000, Ninja: Silent Assassin

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