Tyler Perry stretches outside of his Madea comfort zone by rebooting on the role Morgan Freeman made famous in Alex Cross! But does it make for a satisfying crime thriller or fall flat? 411's Shawn Lealos checks in with his full review!
Directed by Rob Cohen
Written by Marc Moss and Kerry Williamson
Cinematography by Ricardo Della Rosa
Music Composed by John Debney
Tyler Perry .. Dr. Alex Cross
Matthew Fox .. Picasso
Edward Burns .. Tommy Kane
Rachel Nichols .. Monica Ashe
Cicely Tyson .. Nana Mama
Carmen Ejogo .. Maria Cross
Giancarlo Esposito .. Daramus Holiday
John C. McGinley .. Richard Brookwell
Jean Reno .. Leon Mercier
Runtime: 101 min
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for violence including disturbing images, sexual content, language, drug references, and nudity Official Website
Alex Cross gives Tyler Perry his first chance to star in a movie that he didn't produce. This is a stigma the movie carries, regardless of the quality of the film. The big question that everyone will want answered first will mostly surround Tyler Perry himself. Perry may never live down the fact that his most famous role will always be Madea, playing the role of a large, angry black woman. Luckily, he really isn't that bad of an actor, but he won't make anyone forget about Morgan Freeman.
Alex Cross is the third movie featuring the James Patterson character, following Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. The movie is a very loose adaptation of the novel Cross. In the book, Cross had quit the FBI and was working in a private practice when he got a lead that might help him finally catch the man who killed his wife years ago (before his first novel's storyline began).
The movie changes things and created a reboot with Alex Cross. Instead of having Cross go after The Butcher years after his wife's murder, the movie takes us back to his beginning, before he ever worked for the FBI. That puts this movie chronologically before the two Morgan Freeman efforts.
I am disappointed that, for the third time, Cross' partner Sampson doesn't exist in this world. However, I can't complain because Edward Burns is a great part of the cast as Cross' partner Tommy Kane. I do have a big complaint that they drastically changed the character of The Butcher, and made him into a vengeful psychopath, whereas in the book he is a fantastic, well-rounded character. Those things will cause fans of the books to not like certain areas of the film.
With all that said, 90-percent of the people who go to see this movie knows nothing about the book, so none of that matters. What does matter is whether or not Alex Cross works as a standalone movie. It does and it doesn't.
We can start with Tyler Perry. The man is a solid actor when working dramatic scenes, calling for emotion. When he is talking to his daughter, his wife, Tommy and Nana Mama, he shows his natural charisma. However, he is horrible when showcasing Cross' psychology babble, and to be honest it was embarrassing listening to it. Also, when it came to the action scenes and the angry scenes, it was clear that Tyler was trying really hard. He was average through most of the movie, which is not a good thing for the star.
Matthew Fox plays The Butcher, who the movie refers to as Picasso. He is extremely solid as the intense psychopath, but there are moments where he goes over the line and does one too many head twitches, while delivering the "crazy eyes." But, other than those moments, he was great.
The supporting cast was solid overall, with Edward Burns as Tommy the best of the bunch. The guy really needs to be in more big budget movies. Rachel Nichols and Cicely Tyson were also really good in their small roles. I was very disappointed with John C. McGinley, who tried his trademark sarcasm but was stuck with some really bad lines. Jean Reno has also gotten quite fat lately.
I was impressed that the film went to dark places, despite Tyler Perry starring in it. This movie had some really nice dramatic moments and it was an enjoyable story to work through. I have to complain about a subplot involving a girl who went to prison to protect her uncle, because it was only there to prove that Alex Cross would break the law to get revenge. Honestly, he could have gotten the information he needed thanks to this subplot another way. It wasn't needed and the story would have been improved without it.
With all the actors and the good story, the real failure of this movie is director Rob Cohen. It seems like he really loved shaky cam, but he quite honestly has no idea how to use it right. The final fight scene was horribly shot. Honestly, it was complete garbage because you couldn't see what was going on and the shots kept cutting at the worst times. Actually, his camerawork through most of the movie was really bad. Cohen almost ruined the movie.
As it is, the movie was perfectly average.
The 411: Alex Cross is nothing more than an average thriller. There are some solid acting performances, but it is clear that Tyler Perry was in over his head. Rumors are that Perry has already signed to return for a second outing as the detective, this time moving the story to the FBI years. However, they have to get a better director. Rob Cohen has only made one good movie in his career, and proved here that he should be nowhere near a big budget movie like this. This is nothing more than a rental.