50 Cent plays Jonas “Malo” Maldonado, a young police officer with a criminal past, who is taken under the wing of corrupt cop Joe Sarcone, unfortunately played by Robert De Niro.
The reason this is unfortunate is due to the fact that this film is yet more proof that the days of De Niro’s respectable acting career are long over, opting instead to take part in any film with a hefty paycheck.
As the film continues, Jonas is drawn further in to the criminal underworld of New York, as both a part of it and part of the police force working against it, under the tutelage of Sarcone and his right-hand man, LaRue (played by Forest Whitaker). However, he soon finds out that these two ‘mentors’ may have been involved in the death of his father and begins a mission to take them down.
This predicable plot is extremely weak, with information and back-stories worked into the dialogue in such a subtle fashion to make a brick envious. Not content to show anything, or allow the viewer to learn on their own, Crossfire force-feeds you the film’s pointless narrative, rushing through each scene to move onto the next. Each character is merely a dispenser of information, removing any temptation for emotional investment. Truly, there is no likeable character throughout the film.
Aside from this, the film is riddled with yet more problems straight from the off. Whilst he may be an extremely successful rapper, Curtis Jackson is not suited to film. His slow, mumbling slurs make it almost impossible to understand the small amount of dialogue he is trying to excise, and he seems to be incapable of emoting anything beyond a blank stare.
The film therefore falls to the supporting cast, and with two Oscar winners present, it’s astounding how badly everything can go wrong. De Niro’s character is written so plainly that there is really nothing to take from it (yes we know, he’s threatening), and his aggressive eulogising is nothing to fear. Forrest Whittaker’s LaRue is not as badly furnished but still unworthy of an actor of such high caliber. How these two became involved in the film is a mystery, but hopefully their swelled bank accounts will provide some comfort to them.
Jessy Terrero’s attempts at stylised direction are sadly just a further distraction to the little that is watchable. In fact, the only positive is that you can fully appreciate what New York looks like when seen from above at night. The rest is merely jarring.
With no surprise that the film is straight to DVD, Crossfire is a jumbled, dull and unexciting affair from start to finish. The narrative moves from point A to B and so on with no character or purpose, aside from to show that Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson can hold a gun to someone’s head. De Niro’s performance is one to make you forget Raging Bull even starred him, and the eventual conclusion is a nothing if not mercifully brief. To be avoided.