Direct to video horror/SciFi stuff starring Rutger Hauer is basically my bread and butter so I was very excited to see Crossworlds drop on Amazon prime after trying to score a DVD for years, to no avail. An inter dimensional travel flick with Hauer as a sort of Gandalf/Jedi/salt of the earth time machine mechanic hybrid sounds like a dream come true but unfortunately this one just never seems to be able to get it up past lukewarm, and I fear that budget is mostly the reason. It’s clear that this thing didn’t have all that many bucks thrown at it to play with and in a SciFi with this snazzy of a concept you just need to have impressive effects and better world building. Hauer’s sarcastic sage warrior is on a quest with a younger protege (Andrea Roth) to recruit a human college kid (Josh Charles) from our world and use his birthright talisman to thwart an evil organization from using it to combine all the parallel dimensions of the universe into one big ‘dimension gumbo’, thus eradicating the natural borders of the cosmos and promoting utter chaos. That sounds way cooler in writing than it does in the actual film too and unfortunately most of it is just running, chasing, clunky fight scenes and undercooked exposition without any real substance or flow. Charles as the lead is about as vanilla and lacking in charisma as they come, which hurts the film, while Hauer is wonderful as ever playing up the curmudgeonly aspects of his character and rocking a duster trench-coat like the badass he is. Roth I’ve always been fond of and she’s great too but the role is underwritten and she seems bored for most of it, while a very young and very drunk Jack Black steals a scene or three as a loud mouthed college bro. The film finds some torque when Stuart Wilson shows up as the scheming villain; Stuart is an actor who is pretty much incapable of boring or subpar work (much like Hauer) and he makes this guy someone you love to hate and turns every flatly written line into a mischievous flourish. But he nor Hauer can ultimately save this from the muddled doldrums it consistently wanders into and it’s frustrating because there’s a crackerjack premise somewhere in there that was just given half assed treatment both in the screenwriting phase and in production/execution and it shows. Perhaps one day someone with more money and a clearer vision will give this another shot.