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“Tyler Perry plays Alex Cross before he becomes Morgan Freeman”

What’s it About?

A homicide detective is pushed to the brink of his moral and physical limits as he tangles with a ferociously skilled serial killer who specializes in torture and pain.

Alex Cross

Directed by Rob Cohen

5 out of 10

By Vic

I guess I’ll get this right out of the way. I’m not a Tyler Perry basher. It would be quite easy to be one I suppose but I don’t hate the guy. He is smart, has some talent I guess, has made many people like himself very rich and is a good motivational speaker and role model for many in the film and tv business. His “Madea”  movies and his numerous television programs are very popular and have made a gazillion dollars. I respect the guy and I even came to accept that he was in Star Trek (2009).

All that considered though, he just isn’t my cup of tea. It’s not that I think he’s a hack or something. I think it’s just that he doesn’t do anything for me. Comedy or drama wise respectfully. Before watching this I was very aware of the negative write ups the film had garnered until now and because my wife is a big James Patterson /Alex Cross / Morgan Freeman fan she insisted we give the film a watch. I guess that it’s a sort of “Alex Cross Begins” much in the same vein that “Sum of all Fears” was a reboot of the Jack Ryan franchise. I reminded her that Morgan Freeman was NOT playing Alex Cross this time. She says “Duh, I know. It’s Tyler Perry dum dum.” So after this brief and completely intellectual exchange we ventured forward with a viewing of Alex Cross from hit or miss director Rob Cohen, who has brought us some decent flicks in the past.

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Cohen gave us Fast and the Furious, xXx, Daylight and my favorite is Dragonheart. He also, though, gave us The Mummy 3 and Stealth. So yeah…you get my drift. Screenplay writer Marc Moss (Along Came a Spider) climbed on board to tighten up the script and breathe new life into the character. At one point Idris Alba and director David Twohy were involved ( I would have LOVED to have seen that version. Sigh). Unfortunately, Moss breathes life into only one character and it isn’t Alex Cross.

With reportedly one of the lowest budgets ever awarded him, Cohen brings us a film that is just so generic,  average and underwhelming that it comes across as a made for cable TV thriller of the week movie.  Just with more blood, violence and bad language. It’s a lazy attempt at trying to merge an action film with a psychological cat and mouse story. Alex Cross (Tyler Perry) a psychologist and police Lt.  is done with being out and about getting into gun play and trouble with his co-partner Thomas played by the capable and charming Edward Burns.

In this film he wants to move on to where he thinks his strength lies: Profiling for the FBI.  It would mean relocating to Washington DC and he fears that his wife, who is pregnant, may reject the idea. But crime never takes a day off and we then move on to the real meat of story and the only strong and intense character in this rather ordinary police procedural: Matthew Fox. (LOST, Vantage Point, Party of Five)

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Fox plays a real twisted and sick dude named Picasso who used to be a military assassin. He fights in underground MMA fights and suffers from drug induced hallucinations and episodes. Cross and Tom are brought in to help with a multiple homicide and figures out very promptly that it’s the work of an ex-military psycho that targets very rich business people all leading to Jean Reno who is involved with…oh crap I don’t really care or remember but he is wrapped up in this mess somehow.

Back to Matthew Fox though. He is all types of hardcore here. He’s wiry, full of tats and just bone out, bay shit crazy. He is the only thing about Cohen’s Alex Cross that was interesting, full of tension and suspenseful. Too bad the film’s material stops Fox dead in his tracks whenever he’s on screen. Cohen sometimes gives us some tense moments with Fox. One being a very awful moment involving Cross’ wife. It’s all about Fox but Perry at times just lacks the ability to emote believably and whenever he and Fox are opposed, Fox has the upper hand.

We really want to care for Cross and he is a sympathetic character but Perry’s interpretation is a bit dull. Anyway, Cohen delivers a nicely choreographed action sequence that involves Fox, a rocket launcher, some really stupid drunks, a train and some really dumb Feds. It is one of the only really authentic scenes of the movie and unfortunately it’s not enough. Oh and Cicely Tyson in this movie briefly and even she out-acts everyone around her. Just wanted to mention her of course.

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So, I won’t go into the plot anymore and just briefly admit that “Alex Cross” really is what I would call a mixed bag because it lacks a lot of things. Fox shines here but Cohen’s confusing direction, the amatuerish story and a wooden performance from Perry is to fault for the film’s transparencies.

The one guy who should have knocked it outta the park just doesn’t. But if Perry tries again and fine tunes his acting a bit I may give it a watch but not under Cohen’s watch, unfortunately. This entry  is a routine police procedural that overstays it’s welcome. Worth a watch if you have absolutely NOTHING to watch. And I doubt that’ll ever happen…

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