CrossBones (DVD)

Starring Mayra Soto, Joseph Marino, Jessie Camacho, Kristin Ellich

Directed by Daniel Zirilli

Think of every bad pirate movie you’ve ever seen. High seas with tropical locations and clichéd pirates wearing bandanas and shouting “Arrgh!” at the top of their collective lungs bring groans from audience members but can be quite a bit of fun. Not so in this case, as there is little about this film that is forgivable.

The plot is as old and worn as redneck underwear. A pirate, named “Red Blood,” murders and steals his way to a treasure but dies at the hands of natives before he can find suitable transport and falls victim to a “blood curse.” One hundred years later, a snotty English producer picks Red Blood’s island as the ideal location for his reality television program. Cue scantily clad bodies and horribly broad stereotypes. Of course they awaken the pirate, and chaos ensues.

From the opening credits viewers are treated to actor Joseph Marino, taking his best Capitan Morgan pose, as he sneers and growls onboard an obviously modern “pirate ship.” His crew (of two, by the way) mutinies, and after a high-school stage combat-style sword fight, he somehow winds up in a jail that looks suspiciously like a modern tourist trap with a hand lettered sign bearing the warning “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.” From there, he manages to grimace, swagger, and growl across the Florida sands looking more like Capitan Feathersword than anyone named “Red Blood.” All of this with a remarkably hokey voice-over by a gravel-voiced narrator. What more could anyone ask?

The cast of this film was at least partially culled from actual reality-television programs with “Survivor-Africa’s” Jessie Camacho and “Big Brother’s” Hardy-Ames Hill taking prominent roles. In a big surprise, the majority of the actors deliver their lines with at least a bit of believability, but they are unable to overcome the poor script.

This DVD is also thin in the area of special features. The photo gallery contains a mere fifteen images, most of which look like they were taken at a frat party. The documentary, “‘ARRRRR’ The making of CrossBones,” shows very little of the filmmaking process or what was going through the minds of the filmmakers as they put this project together. The filmmaker’s commentary alternate sound track is similarly without insight, as it mostly consists of the director talking about how incredible his cast is, how much he loves shooting in the Florida Keys, and complaining that he had the idea for a zombie pirate movie, but Pirates of the Caribbean got first dibs from a major studio because of its Disney backing.

In fact, the best feature on this DVD, other than the pulpy and misleading cover art, is the gallery of trailers from other Lion’s Gate releases. Ignoring The Psychic with straight-to-video darling Casper Van Dien, viewers are treated to trailers to Japanese thrillers Premonition, Infection, and Ju-On. There are also trailers for The Zodiac Killer and Undead as well as a short teaser for The Devil’s Rejects.

One has to admire the filmmaker’s faith and exuberance in his project. To hear director Daniel Zirelli talk on the alternate soundtrack, it is obvious that he enjoyed making this movie and that he believed the project was worth his time and effort. It would be interesting to see what he could do with a decent budget and a script worth more than the paper it’s written on.

1 out of 5

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Jon Condit

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