When one hears the name Tyler Perry, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Madea, of course. Perry has had a successful career in comedy, drama and sitcoms. He usually dons a lady’s wig and dress to transform into the annoyingly unfunny Madea. This character has been seen many a time in Perry’s productions but on October 19, audiences will see a new side of Perry in Alex Cross, an action-drama about a revenge-seeking cop hunting a psychopathic assassin. The film is filled to the brim with cliches and results are rather average, if not below so.
The titular character Cross is a respectable family man and detective. He is the perfect person. The only flaws he has are probably a few pounds can he can lose. His partner Tommy (Edward Burns) has been his best friend since childhood and together they are investigating a brilliant killer known as Picasso played by a baldheaded Matthew Fox. The film focuses on the cat and mouse relationship between Cross and Picasso and the conflict that entangles Cross and the people close to him.
Movies like Alex Cross come and go. They are made for the masses to gobble up and are soon forgotten. There are unexciting foot chases, cardboard cutout characters like Tommy, Cross’ superior Brookwell (John C. McGinley) and foreign sleaze ball Mercier (Jean Reno), just to name a few. All of these characters appear and comprise one very loaded story with little payoff.
Matthew Fox of Lost fame is actually the only highlight in this messy production. His over-the-top performance of sadistic Picasso is so ridiculous that it’s actually enjoyable. One would be so used to seeing him as the heroic Jack, that his transition to villain is actually pretty fascinating. In the film, he tortures, seduces and savagely terminates people like an animal, out of its cage and out of control. He makes this film worth watching.
Fans of Tyler Perry will enjoy this change of pace from Madea, err Perry. His good cop turned rogue will more than enthrall audiences no matter how familiar it feels. “It’s Tyler Perry with a gun” is basically how the film has been marketed. So many movies have been made with this plot, poster and supporting characters. There is nothing new here. It’s just another couple of million dollars in Perry’s bank account.
Author James Patterson’s character Alex Cross has been on screen before. Renowned actor Morgan Freeman (greatly superior to Perry) played Cross in 1997’s Kiss the Girls and again in 2001’s Along Came a Spider. The character is an intelligent detective and forensic psychologist. In Alex Cross, he investigates crime scenes and seems to know everything about everything. This almost supernatural ability to know what you ate for breakfast just by looking at you gets a tad ridiculous after a while. He is the Superman of forensics. His abilities are far greater than that of any man, just plain silly.
Director Rob Cohen (Dragonheart, The Fast and the Furious) has put together a film that offers absolutely nothing new. The only thing this film offers is a waste of time. Matthew Fox’s performance provides a glimmer of hope in this otherwise dismal film. Alex Cross has the feel of an early 90s cop thriller with a stale script, lame acting and unoriginal action sequences. After its theatrical run, this film will eventually resurface on late night cable TV where it will only be laughed at by its one, single viewer.
Tyler Perry has wasted not only his time in making this movie but the time of its viewers. Watching this movie is punishment and no one deserves that. What Hollywood needs to realize is that people are smart and they deserve entertainment. It’s truly sad that movies like Alex Cross are made. They are an insult to the intelligence of most audiences. If you want to see a quality cop-thriller, look elsewhere. Alex Cross is just a mess.