Directed by: Alfonso Brescia
Starring: Richard Randall, Maurice Poli, Nelson De La Rosa, Brigitte Porsche, and Peter Hintz
General Romero (Poli) is the iron-fisted leader of a small South American country. He appears to be working with the U.N. in trying to expel the drug trade that’s going on in his backyard, but, as you might expect, the U.N. are a bunch of dupes, and Romero is actively involved with the narco-trafficking. When a Marine named William (Randall) comes from the U.S. and attempts to investigate, things quickly take a turn for the worst. Teaming up with the stereotypical female reporter, this time in the form of Helen (Porsche), our two heroes soon find themselves caught in the CROSS MISSION - with all the shooting, exploding huts, and jungle-based madness you might expect. But Romero has an ace in the hole. Read on to find out more...
Cross Mission, for the most part, is your standard exploding hutter, but because it’s Italian-made (this time by Alfonso Brescia, using his usual anglicized name, Al Bradley), it’s, at minimum, watchable, with quality shooting and explosions and is good technically. It’s an El Presidente...well, not slog, per se, but maybe because they call Romero “El Predestinato”, we can call this the first El Predestinato slog.
But here’s the difference. General Romero has magic powers that consist of being able to summon a diabolical midget named Astaroth (De La Rosa) at will. They also can shoot blue lightning at people. Voodoo is mentioned as the source of Romero’s powers. You don’t see that everyday. This might be the first time I’ve ever written in my notes “macumba consists of summoning magic midgets”. For that reason alone, Cross Mission is worth watching at least once.
That craziness aside, Cross Mission hits all the typical notes you might expect if you watch a lot of jungle slogs: destroyed villages, female reporter, Prerequsite Torture, shooting, blow-ups, jungle setting. Though the fact that it makes the U.N. look like the fools they are gains it some extra points. Richard Randall puts on the time-honored “revenge outfit” towards the end to show he really means business. There is a silly park fight, as well as an exploding helicopter, but, except for the supernatural twist, this is jungle business as usual.
Sadly, this was the only film appearance for Brigitte Porsche, and the only theatrical feature for Richard Randall. They both could have done more in the Italian film industry. What happened to them? How did they get involved with Cross Mission? As lovely as they both were, it could have used one of the usual stars that always turn up in movies like this, perhaps an Oliver Reed, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasance, or Richard Harris. But we do get Nelson De La Rosa, and, as supernaturally evil as he is, the way he’s finally dealt with is quite novel.
Brescia followed this up with the Richard Roundtree/Harrison Muller Jr. team-up Miami Cops (1989), for those keeping track. At least Brescia tried something different here. It didn’t totally succeed, but we give him points for trying to inject a modicum of originality in what could be a rather staid playing field. The utterly crazy Romero sub-plot should have been expanded upon - but on the whole we’d say Cross Mission is a more than decent one-time watch, thanks solely to the nuttier elements at work.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty