Just check out Chris Klein on that cover. He's pissed, furrowed brow, steely gaze, like a skinnier Vic Mackey with more hair. The "I don't take any crap from nobody" stare he's sporting is a pre-requisite for actors starring in "gritty" cop dramas nowadays. It's just how it goes.
There are so many things wrong with 'Caught in the Crossfire' that it's hard to know where to begin. So, let's start with the fact that they're advertising this direct-to-video movie with a big headline that says: "From a producer of '16 Blocks,' and 'Righteous Kill.'" Usually, when producer credits are thrown around to entice people to see a movie we at least get a "the." Here we just get an "a." It could be any old producer, it doesn't matter, it's just a tricky attempt to link this movie with names like Bruce Willis, Al Pacino, and Robert DeNiro.
Briggs (Klein) and Shepherd (Adam Rodriguez) are partners. They've been assigned to investigate the killing of one of their own. A cop has been murdered in cold blood and Briggs is very serious about finding out who did it. See, the guy who was murdered also happened to be Briggs' old partner. The plot thickens.
Briggs is the loose cannon, because it's completely impossible in today's world to have a cop movie without a loose cannon. Shepherd is all about "the book." He balks at entering houses without warrants, and he puts an end to good old fashioned beat downs that Briggs gives out to get information. Doesn't Shepherd know that going by the book isn't cool? Cops who get things done are the cops that play loosey goosey with the rules. This is just common knowledge.
I'm not sure what Klein is going for with his performance here, either an Oscar or a Razzie. He's just insane. It's not good insane though, like Nic Cage in 'Bad Lieutenant.' This is aggravating insane. Like for example, when Klein gruffly talks to himself about how everything during a shootout went down. It's hard not to laugh out loud during that scene, but he's so serious about it you have to give him credit for jumping in head first.
'Caught in the Crossfire,' is another movie in the long line of predictable cop movies that follows the trail of dirty cops doing dirty things. There are no surprises here. The "surprise" ending can be seen a mile away.
The one appealing aspect of the whole movie is that the story is told as Briggs and Shepherd are recounting the events in an interrogation from their superiors. If only the rest of the movie was that interesting.
Are there any more clean cops in the movies? Was there ever any? Or are they all just dirty, usurping their power over the poor civilians of the world? Oh, who cares! 'Caught in the Crossfire,' is as bland as any other humdrum cop show out there. Klein would like us to think that his Briggs character is different, but he's not. It's all more of the same old cop drama that is described as gritty and dark so it can get away with being lame and unoriginal.
'Caught in the Crossfire's AVC-encoded 1080p transfer leaves a lot to be desired.
The entire image is plagued with a constant rat-ta-tat-tat of source noise that pops up at a frequent rate. Fine detail is at a minimum here. There are only a handful of scenes that genuinely pop. The scene where Klein talks to himself (mentioned above) is one of the better looking scenes. Most of the movie takes place either at night or in a dimly lit interrogation room. Believe me when I tell you low-light, or none at all isn't very viewer friendly here. Blacks reside somewhere in the gray spectrum. Crushing is a constant offender with 50 Cent's head being lost in the murk more often than not.
I know you probably weren't expecting much from this direct-to-home-video film, but this definitely should have looked better in high definition.
'Caught in the Crossfire' features a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 presentation. The sound doesn't fare much better than the video.
The first noticeable offense is that the ambient sound in the surround speakers – barring the gunfight at the beginning – remains almost completely silent for the length of the movie. The film features a front-heavy mix containing lots of dialogue, which is soft and oft times hard to hear. LFE is present during some of the musical soundtrack, and helps with deeper sounds that come from the numerous gunshots in the movie, but it never sounds deep and resonant.
This is just a bland sound presentation to go along with the underwhelming video.
Just avoid 'Caught in the Crossfire.' I know, I know, you'd never have even heard of it if it weren't for this review. Well, just in case you're a huge Chris Klein fan, stick with something like 'Just Friends' or 'Election' and give this soon-to-be turkey a pass. The video and audio presentations seem to be scraped off the bargain basement floor. This is one to avoid.