Review: Alex Cross murder-mystery is methodically mundane
Although I don’t really dig his movies, I do have a lot of respect for Tyler Perry, the writer, director, producer and star of the Madea films that are incredibly popular with their targeted audience. This very likable man created a successful brand out of nothing and flew in the face of the Hollywood movie-making machine, filling a niche for many African-American moviegoers. Perry is a true American success story, but unfortunately this Alex Cross attempt to move beyond Madea comes up short.
I’ve never read any of the Patterson books, but apparently this new film is loosely based on the first novel (Cross) and takes place before Alex (Tyler Perry) began his career with the FBI. He’s a homicide detective with a Doctorate in Psychology and is portrayed as a kind of modern-day Sherlock Holmes, able to derive conclusions based on minor clues that the average police officer doesn’t even notice.
The highlight of Alex Cross is the performance by Matthew Fox as Picasso. The Lost actor has obviously dedicated himself to this role, losing weight and sculpting his body into a lean, mean killing-machine who takes maniacal pleasure in torturing his victims. Fox walks a fine line, bordering on being as cartoonish as the rest of the cast in this film, but in the end I think he pulls off the part successfully and any down side is the fault of lackluster writing by Marc Moss (Along Came a Spider) and Kerry Williamson.
This movie is directed by Rob Cohen and he seems to have sleepwalked through this effort, leaving out the edgy excitement that he brought to some of his other work like The Fast and the Furious. But the icing on this dull, lifeless cake is in its absurd epilogue ending where Alex Cross wraps up the case by piecing together obscure clues that flew right past me during the movie (I didn’t realize there would be a test at the end.) It’s almost like the end of a bad Scooby-Doo episode. I’m certain that Alex Cross is going to play well with Tyler Perry’s fans, but this film feels more like a run-of-the-mill television series pilot than a serious feature film effort. Grade: 4/10