The brainchild of co-writer/producer/casting director/actor Patrick Durham, Cross displays an infinite willingness to bend over backwards trying to name, explain, and connect every character that appears on screen with cheap-looking floating text captions. On one hand, this is a remarkably lazy way to set characters up -- they might as well wear signs around their necks -- and yet, almost impressively, it does no good whatsoever. Since none of these characters exhibit a shred of personality, and many barely have the slightest relevance to a given scene or the overall story, the information vanishes as quickly as it appears. Hell, signs might be better: at least the viewer would get a chance to memorize them.
The incomprehensible plot that remains is pretty straightforward: Cross (Brian Austin Green) is a hero with a family cross that gives him special powers, Erlik (Michael Clarke Duncan) is a criminal overlord looking to kill Cross and take over the city, and he's hired an immortal badass named Gunnar (Vinnie Jones) to help him do so. The magic of Durham's screenplay is that it manages to avoid giving any of these characters non-reflexive motivation. Cross uses his special powers because...he has them. He fights Erlik because Erlik is the bad guy. Erlik fights back because Cross is fighting him, and so on. These things happen because if they do not, there is no movie, and there must be a movie, because Durham has written one.
As one of the movie's three casting directors, Durham can be blamed for the casting of Brian Austin Green. Green is probably most famous at this point for being Megan Fox's husband, and I see why they'd make a good couple: Green matches Fox's dead-eyed soullessness beat-for-beat. In one extensive sequence, Cross helps a woman (Susie Abromeit) in a bar fight off some leery drunkards, and she ends up at his place, her interest piqued by his noble attitude. Never in my entire movie-watching life have I seen an actor with less perceptible interest in a gorgeous woman sitting in his lap than Green exhibits on his stony, emotionless face during this sequence. In fact, he almost seems annoyed by the whole situation, as if it's a chore to be bedded by charming, attractive people without having to work at it.
As the film progresses, more interesting quirks pop up on Durham's end: his unconscious sexism (in one amazing bit, Lori Heuring is walking down a hallway with a gun drawn, and one of her fellow soldiers pops through a doorway to ask if she's all right. In the moment she has her head turned, a thug appears and aims to shoot her, but the soldier picks him off first, and Heuring actually thanks him for saving her from a distraction he created), his lack of coherency as a director (action scenes often feature entirely cutaways to things happening within fifteen feet of each other, yet are so divorced from any sort of centered geography that could essentially be happening anywhere), and a sprinkling of religious references that feel half-hearted and entirely out of place. And again, all of the above occurs within the movie's first 45 minutes, at which point I couldn't bring myself to devote another second of my life to watching whatever was going to happen next.
The Video and Audio
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is a step up from the usual DTV stuff. Although I wouldn't go out of my way to single out Cross over some mixes I've listened to, the bigger scenes pack a decent amount of punch and weight that is usually missing from cheaper or low-budget stuff prepared for home video. Dialogue scenes are less impressive, which sound essentially like production audio with little oomph. French and Spanish 5.1 tracks are also included, as well as English, French, and Spanish subtitles, and separate English captions for the deaf and hard of hearing (a nice touch that's usually reserved for Blu-Ray).
An updated trailer for Sony Blu-Ray discs plays before the main menu, followed by trailers for Insidious, The Hit List, Quarantine 2: Terminal, Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown, and "Justified": Season One. No trailer for Cross has been included.