Friday, 9 September 2011

Cross Mission

(It's been a while, screenshots and videos to follow shortly once I get on a computer that can do those two things)

Cross Mission is a sorry excuse for an action film that plods along as if it doesn't even want to; lambast various other B-grade directors such as Lamberto Bava, Mattei and Fragasso all you want, at least they weren't Al Bresica, who cut so many corners his films were just a few milimetres away from being totally one-dimensional. Taking place in an ambiguous Latin American country (in this film's favour, it makes a change to the painfully similar setting of Filipino jungles), Cross Mission focuses on General Romero's corrupt business as a politician; to the UN he is removing his country's marijuana crops, in secret he is still growing them and shipping them off. His right hand man William is turned to the good side by an investigative reporter called Helen who he finds himself overwhelmingly attracted to after knowing each other for such a short amount of time, and soon the two are waging war alongside rebel forces against Romero's oppressive and sly rule. The relatively confused and standstill plot is spiced up just a bit by the classically exploitative inclusion of Ratman star Nelson de la Rosa (famed for his extremely small height) as a supernatually-powered dwarf called Astaroth, but his presence is simply to make stand out what is unfortunately a very non-daring expedition into familiar territory.

While indeed slick-looking in some instances, with semi-decent acting and a catchy synth score, Cross Mission's flair is limited and its action sequences are neither exciting or explosive, consisting mostly of very still scenes of simple machinegun spraying and some small explosions. The nadir of which is a final beach battle that is shot in day-for-night and consists of not a lot going on (the film slips up and shows the beach at day time when shown one of Romero's monitors, even though it's meant to be at night). Of course, much of the entertainment is going to come from picking this one apart, but don't expect anything to throw itself at you like many other titles will, this one is very reserved and even goes so far to culling footage from Umberto Lenzi stinker Bridge to Hell. The romance subplot in this one deserves a footnote in how appalling it is, only here could the hero declare his love for the woman he wants to save and then promptly dive at another woman he's been talking to. That, and the many little snippets of sexism make for unusual laughs, otherwise, the majority of the dialogue is unnoticeable.

What could have been an exciting and slightly original little title of heated battles in untouched land for Italian filmmakers and a fight against a voodoo dictator and his magical midget (Nelson de la Rosa is woefully underused) is really something for completionists of this sort of thing only. Mildly interesting, but General Romero and his sparkling telekinetic lie detector is not going to win fans easily for this title.

  • Midgetsploitation: 2/5
  • Music: 3/5
  • Being a wasted opportunity: 5/5

Review source: Japanese VHS
Title information
  • Production company: AM Trading International SRL
  • Year of release: 1988
Alternative titles:
  • Missão Mortífera <Lethal Mission> (Brazil)
  • Mafia Power (France)
  • Combat Attack (West Germany)
  • 追跡大陸グレート・ミッション "Tsuiseki tairiku gureeto misshon" <Continent track: Great Mission> (Japan)

1 comment:

  1. Good review! Haven't seen this, that is unfortunate that is a dud. Love a fun catchy synth score though.