Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Crossover

Posted By on Wed, Sep 6, 2006 at 12:00 AM

If you're making a movie set in Detroit, why actually bother filming here? Toronto is so much nicer, after all ... such was the mind-set of the filmmakers of Robocop, The Crow and Assault on Precinct 13, to name a few.

While this new clumsily underground b-ball drama is set in the D, and actually filmed here, it has little more to offer than a rare chance to peek inside the abandoned husk of the old train station without dodging cops or hobo urine.

Crossover is strictly amateurish from top to bottom, with bad acting, bad writing, bad direction and even bad lighting. Director Preston A. Whitmore II is only concerned with making the hoops scenes flashy, overloading them with slo-mo dunks and spastic editing.

The clichéd plot follows street ballers Tech (Anthony Mackie) and Noah Cruise (Wesley Jonathan) as they grapple with issues of loyalty, family and fame. When they're not trash-talking and slam-dunking, Cruise secretly wants to go to medical school, and Tech toys with the idea of going pro. Among the implausible pills we're asked to swallow: Squeaky clean comedian Wayne Brady plays a sleazy sports agent and gambler, and Cruise, who can barely handle the English language, is up for an academic scholarship. The movie is not only technically incompetent but hypocritical, preaching a pro-education message while indulging in the glitzy rap video lifestyle it's supposedly against.

Detroiters will at least get a kick out of seeing familiar places on screen. The most compelling performance in this movie comes not from an actor but from a building: the dying suburban Universal Mall (showing more depth and emotion than any of the actors manage to convey). And this stinker will be hitting said mall's discount theater in no time flat.

Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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