John Hanlon Reviews

Film Reviews

Alex Cross Poster

Alex Cross

Genre: Thriller

Director: Rob Cohen

Cast: Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, Edward Burns, Rachel Nichols, Jean Reno

MPAA-Rating: PG-13

Release Date: October 19th 2012

In 2009, approved Tyler Perry directed, more about wrote and starred in a dramedy entitled “I Can Do Bad All by Myself.” In 2012, he has proven that he can also “do bad” along with a cast and crew alongside him. His new drama “Alex Cross”is a terribly bad drama that deserves neither your attention or your respect.

“Alex Cross” finds Perry playing the title character, a detective confronted with a psychotic killer on the loose. The character of Cross, which was created by best-selling author James Patterson, has appeared in several major motion pictures before (“Kiss the Girls” and “Along Came a Spider”) but was then played by Morgan Freeman. For those keeping score, Perry does a decent job as Cross but clearly lacks the acting abilities of Mr. Freeman, who will be missed in the role.

The latest film, which was adapted from the Patterson novel “Cross,” was written by screenwriters Marc Moss and Kerry Williamson. Throughout its running time, the movie feels like a run-of-the-mill thriller with Cross taking the lead in a murder case alongside fellow detectives Tommy Kane (Edward Burns) and Monica Ashe (Rachel Nichols). Kane is Cross’ partner and best friend while Ashe exists in a small and ultimately superfluous role.

Cross’ main target is a psycho named Picasso (Matthew Fox), a serial killer who tortures and sometimes mutilates his victims. Picasso is a bellicose suit-wearing monster who early on takes off his jacket and tie and reveals the psychopath within. When Cross studies the crime scenes he’s left and watches as Picasso continue killing innocents around town, Cross labels him a “sociopathic narcissist.”

The greatest problem in “Cross” is how it’s been constructed. The whole plot feels like something that a Lifetime movie of the week could have done much better on a lower budget. Nothing about this thriller thrills. It’s all cliched and quite boring. To top it all off, much of the dialogue feels forced as blatant exposition is placed throughout normal conversations. Even when the movie surprises audiences (and there is at least on major surprise in it), the dramatic pacing is so uneven that the plot feels off-kilter.

Fox tries to do what he can with his hate-filled character but the script offers him no style or passion to use to create a compelling villain. The character is simply psychotic and that is just shown in scene after scene. Lean and beefed-up, Fox presents his character as an extremely sadistic killer who has little personality outside of his enjoyment of other people’s pain.

If the lackluster plot isn’t enough to keep you from seeing the film, its dumbed-down ending should be. When you think that the movie has manipulated you enough into trying to care about these characters, it reveals one unnecessary twist that casts the title character in a much harsher light than was necessary or even warranted.

“Alex Cross” tries to be a grand thriller but fails on nearly every level. Perry tries hard but surprisingly isn’t the thing that weighs this clunker down. It’s the script and the plot that makes this Cross unbearable. 

Review by: John Hanlon