Friday, January 27, 2012

Crosscut (1996)

Crosscut poster

Tagline:

No one quits the mob.

Movie Review:

Crosscut 1

I am not only a fan of action films. I am also a film collector. Those of you who are regulars here may have already noticed my new photoblog Explosive VHS, where I will be showing additions to and some of the favourites in my VHS collection. I also have a big fondness for LaserDiscs - remember those? The LP sized CDs that were vaguely popular in the 80's and 90's with video and sound quality greater than anything else available to the home market during its release. DVD quickly killed it, but as with VHS, there are many titles available on that format not yet released on DVD, let alone bluray. One such film is Crosscut. I knew nothing about the movie, but when I saw a photo of a guy holding a pistol to the camera above a city-scape shot when doing my routine eBay LaserDisc hunts, I just knew I had to get it.

Martin Niconi (Australian actor Costas Manylor of Picket Fences, the Saw franchise and the hilarious Corman film Dinocroc) is a tired mob thug who, along with his mob associates, collects overdue loans from businesses, with force. After a successful reclaiming of forty thousand dollars, Martin and associates retire to the mob bar. The violent, loudmouth son of the mob boss gets trigger happy and in the course of defending himself, Martin shoots him dead. Immediately he flees the scene and visits his uncle Leo who gives him money and the keys to his cabin in the woods. Martin makes for the cabin and begins a new life as the logger Matin Jones. However, the mob won't let the death of the boss' son simply go away. So begins the hunt!

Crosscut 2

This was not what I was expecting from the cover. That isn't to say I enjoyed it, however those of you who are expecting 90 minutes of mob vengeance action will be sorely dissapointed. The film revolves mainly around Martin trying to start his new life as a lumberjack and having to deal with being the unwanted, fish-out-of-water in a town that is already under pressure from the upcoming close of their whole logging operations. Martin tries his best to keep to himself and earn honest money doing an honest trade, but his shift leader Max (Casey Sander) doesn't like the look of him. To make matters worse, Martin shows interest in Max's sister Anna (Megan Gallagher), and that doesn't sit too well with Max.

The action takes a back seat to the story here. Once Martin has become a fugitive most action involves trees being lopped and Martin trying to get into Anna's pants. There's the token redneck bar-brawl as well, though it is over too quick, a minor car chase, and a few threatening guns pointed here and there but most of the action takes place in that famous final-fifteen of the film. The mob eventually, and obviously, locate Martin and attempt to make him pay for his crimes. This final scene is pretty good stuff with many of the loggers coming to Martin's aid, and improvising weapons from their logging equipment.

Crosscut 3

If it wasn't for the language in the first few minutes and a few violent deaths at the end, this would be proper midday-movie stuff. That's not necessarily a bad thing though. It's just a solid little film with a tried-and-true plot that can be enjoyed without too much thought, and not be overly grotesque or exploitative to cause offence to Mother whilst she peeks up at the screen when doing her knitting. Perhaps there was a TV cut of this shown in the early afternoons where the opening swearing was ommitted and the blood-splattering chest hits cut to a minimum. Costas Mandylor is just that kind of easy to watch TV actor, I guess. Perhaps his stint in Picket Fences sealed that. And the forest settings helped a lot.

Manylor does a fine job, though not an outstanding job. That could be said for the entire cast really. There's nothing hugely memorable - except the completely cliched, violent and racist language in the opening scenes of the mob boss' son. Gallagher does a decent job as the love interest who is also an owl loving environmentalist. I laughed loud at the most obvious midday-movie romance scene I've seen in a while - Martin's incompetence at catching a fish, ensuring he drops its flapping body numerous times, to the absolute delight of Anna. Everyone else from the mob guys to Anna's teenage son acquit themselves admirably.

All in all, if you aren't expecting an action extravaganza, this is a decent film. It was kind of refreshing in a way; I had put the disc on just to check the quality of it, not being in the mood to watch an action film, and ended up engrossed in it enough that here I am writing a review. Worth watching if you are in the mood for something of this type, find it cheap enough, or better yet it's on TV. Perhaps at midday.

Crosscut 4

The Video:

Decent fullscreen transfer on an NTSC LaserDisc. A little desaturated perhaps, which was a problem on many LD's, but still a huge upgrade over VHS. Solid audio output with a digital stereo track. Runtime approx. 96 minutes.

Sourced From:

LaserDisc off eBay Australia for $5.

Trailer:

Unfortunately I couldn't locate a trailer.

More Screens:

Crosscut 5

Crosscut 6

Crosscut 7

Crosscut 8

Crosscut 9

Crosscut 10

5 comments:

  1. A girl on Tumblr once posted this:

    "Today I saw some movies but the case looked like they were vinyls. I coun't [sic] figure out how to open them so I have no idea when [sic] the disk or whatever looked like. I was wondering if you know what they are and what you play them on. I've never seen anything like them before."

    It was so great I had to copy it to my desktop. Ah laser disc, we hardly knew ye, and some kids never knew ye. As far as the movie, this looks like a decent one that I have to check out.

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  2. When I first noticed Mandylor in Saw 4 or 5 I almost shouted his name out loud in the cinema!

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  3. Matt that comment was hilarious, especially the fact she couldn't open them! They slide out like any vinyl would. I love my LD player, especially as it's a DVD player as well, so when watching films in 'the den' it's one less box to have hanging around.

    I think you'd dig Crosscut, though a used VHS would be the best bet. Or midday movie.

    Ricky, I haven't made it that far into the Saw franchise yet (waiting for the inevitable bluray boxset) but I recognised him from Roger Corman's Dinocroc, where he really hammed up his Aussie accent and played the role of a Crocodile Hunter!

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  4. Good review! That is really cool you have this on Laserdisc!

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  5. Thanks Ty, yes it was a lucky and random find!

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