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Crossworlds (1996)

Video  -  Action | Sci-Fi | Comedy  -  8 January 1997 (UK)
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 1,966 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 7 critic

A young man discovers that his father was from another dimension and that he is the key to the operation of a crystal that can be the deciding factor in a war crossing the dimensions.


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Title: Crossworlds (Video 1996)

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Complete credited cast:
Joe Talbot
Richard McGregor ...
Joe's Mom
The Queen
Michael Stadvec ...
Cop #1
Cop #2
The Dancer
Norita Golanos ...
Receptionist (as Norita Galanos)
Tony Ervolina ...
Joe's Father


A young man discovers that his father was from another dimension and that he is the key to the operation of a crystal that can be the deciding factor in a war crossing the dimensions. Written by John Sacksteder <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

dimension | crystal | tied up | portal | magic | See more »


Imagine a place where all dimensions of the universe collide...


Action | Sci-Fi | Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for action violence and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

8 January 1997 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Crossworlds  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Stuart Wilson wears a Crossworlds baseball cap in Second Sight. See more »


When the trio arrive at the queen's encampment, their shadows should fall more to the left, to match the illumination of the two big planets in the sky. See more »


Laura: What do we do now?
A.T.: Try not to die.
See more »


References Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) See more »


Intergalactic Tango
Written and Performed by Kevin Manthei
See more »

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User Reviews

Not enough exposition, but admirable low budget film-making
24 February 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

As explained in a scrolling text prologue, Crossworlds is set in a universe where there are multiple dimensions and travel across dimensions is made possible by a "key" of sorts that unlocks doors between them. The key is powerful, so obviously there are various parties vying for it. As the film proper begins, we see a man head into a cave to retrieve some ancient relic, only to be confronted by sinister looking men. Then we head back to "contemporary" California to meet Joseph Talbot (Josh Charles), your average film world young, partying college student. Soon Joseph encounters Laura (Andrea Roth) who introduces him to dimension-hopping. It seems Joseph has some role to play in the war for the key.

Much has been said about the resemblance between Crossworlds and The Matrix (1999). Although some of the similarities are surely coincidences, many may not be. I suspect there will be no end to discovering source material that was somewhat cribbed by the Wachowski Brothers in the three Matrix films. I know that the more pre-1999 genre films I watch, the more I find material that the Wachowskis unofficially "adapted" for their work.

On the other hand, similarities between Crossworlds and the first Matrix film underscore a point that I like to make about film criticism--I do not agree that originality is a criterion that should be factored into one's rating of a film. That's not to say that I'm advocating plagiarism--far from it. But being strongly influenced by other material, or even "riffing" off of it is not a problem in my opinion. For one, the works we claim are original may turn out to be not so original after all. It's an epistemic problem. Critics are not omniscient, so any work deemed original may turn out, upon future knowledge, to be just as strongly influenced from material we just didn't happen to know about. So what we're really doing if we award points for originality is saying, "I'm not familiar with any material that this film is influenced from, therefore it is better than a film where I am familiar with precursor material". I believe The Matrix is a much better film than Crossworlds. The similar material is handled much better by the Wachowskis.

That's not to say that Crossworlds is bad. It's just average. It has an equal amount of good points and bad points. The principle problem I had with the film was the same problem I had with Constantine (2005)--there is obviously a dense mythology in the writers' minds that forms the basis of the plot, but the audience isn't told enough of the mythology for the film to achieve greatness. You are never quite sure of the "rules" of the Crossworlds universe. As soon as you begin to get your bearings and figure it all out, some new character appears, some new kind of unusual device, action or ability occurs, and we're in the dark again, trying to update our scorecards so that the new material is coherent with the previous material. It saps any potential suspense out of the film. It's a difficult problem for any author who wishes to create alternate worlds, with alternate operational rules. One has to find a balance between too much exposition/explication and not enough. Scripters Raman and Krishna Rao (who also directed) err on the side of not enough.

There are other problems, many of which seem to be related to editing and specifically the fact that Rao probably had to cut a much longer film down to 90 minutes. That may also be part of the reason that needed exposition/explication is missing. Rao might have figured that if he has to lose material, it's best not to lose more action-heavy scenes. Changes in setting, plot and/or character attitude are occasionally too abrupt. For example, Joseph expresses frustration at the dimension-hopping predicament (right after they leave the beach) when it seems that he's barely experienced any of it. This should have been saved for a later scene, and perhaps in the original cut, it did come much further into the film.

But the film also has many assets, not the least of which is Rutger Hauer as A.T. Hauer is like a slightly older version of Lou Diamond Phillips, which means that he's something of a grade B and C genre film king. You know that if Hauer or Phillips is in a film, there's a good chance that it's going to be at least a bit cheesy. For those of us who have a special place in our hearts for cheesy B and C genre films, we also tend to love Hauer and Phillips.

The rest of the cast is a treat, too. Charles is terrific at playing a lost nerd, Jack Black gets to do the schtick that made him famous, Roth is appropriately sly, sexy and a bit mischievous and Stuart Wilson as the villain should have most viewers hating him by the end of the film, which is what he's supposed to do.

And of course the underlying idea is an intriguing one. Visually, Rao does a fantastic job of creating an attractive sci-fi film dealing with multiple worlds on a relatively low budget. Many directors would be afraid even to attempt such a feat, as the budget did not allow for much in the way of special effects. Most locations are our mundane Earth, yet Rao is able to convey an epic adventure through multiple worlds with devices as simple as a red filter and locations as simple as a warehouse or black sound stage.

Crossworlds is definitely worth a view if you're a big fan of this genre. Just be prepared to cut the film some slack in terms of exposition, and keep a scorecard if you have to.

27 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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One of the Predecessors of The Matrix pangenium
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