Film Reviews — 02 September 2010

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Caught in the Crossfire

Director: Brian A Miller
Screenplay: Brian A Miller
Producers: Anat Bikel, Leon Edery, Moshe Edery, Ilann Girard, Benjamina Mirnik, Uri Sabag, David Silber
Starring: Chris Klein, Adam Rodriguez, Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson, Michael Matthias, Jason Ambrose, Tim Fields, Sydney Hall, Richard T Jones
Year: 2010
Country: USA
BBFC Certification: 15
Duration: 78 min

I’m going to keep this brief as this isn’t the sort of film that provokes much debate or interest. Caught in the Crossfire is a by-the-numbers police thriller that has rightfully gone straight to DVD. It’s not terrible, but it isn’t particularly good either and it didn’t help that I watched this in-between finishing off series 5 of The Wire. What low budget movie could compete with that?

Chris Klein (yes, the same Chris Klein that displays the emotive capacity of a broom in the American Pie movies) and Adam Rodriguez play two Detroit cops trying to clear their names after an investigation into a murder of an undercover detective goes wrong, resulting in the deaths of a suspect and their CI (50 Cent, who’s given front-billing despite a meagre amount of screen time). Most of the film is told through flashbacks as the two try to piece together what happened and who was behind it. Cue lots of double crossing, macho posturing and a ridiculous final act twist that’ll make you groan rather than gasp.

Caught in the Crossfire is the sort of film that is so full of cliched situations and dialogue that it quickly dissolves into the ether. I watched it about four days ago and I’m already struggling to recall much about it. One thing that stood out was Chris Klein’s performance and not in a good way I’m afraid. It’s admirable that he’s trying to branch out in his roles, he plays a tightly wound detective, streets away from his usual dumb jock characters. Unfortunately he tries way too hard to banish his usually bland persona and goes totally the other way, delivering a spastically hammy performance that further accentuates the cheesiness of the film itself.

On a positive note, the film looks great. It’s glossily lit, but with a gritty edge and the standard handheld flourishes, helping the film rise above it’s low budget peers. Klein’s co-star Rodriguez almost balances out the former’s histrionics too, delivering a solid and relatively restrained performance. 50 Cent isn’t exactly stretching his acting chops playing a Detroit ‘gangsta’, but he doesn’t embarrass himself either.

The film is mercifully short and to it’s credit it never drags, but there’s not enough here to recommend it in any way. It passes the time, but does nothing new, nothing interesting, it just grinds the gears.

Caught in the Crossfire is released on 6th September by Metrodome on DVD. The minimal features include a trailer and supposedly some outtakes, but I didn’t come across these.

Reviewed by David Brook

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