Alex Cross

Directed by:  Rob Cohen

Starring:  Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, Edward Burns, Cicely Tyson, Jean Reno, Rachel Nichols, Carmen Ejogo

Maybe my title is a little harsh.  However, I am pretty sure that is what everyone was thinking when they saw the trailer for the movie, along with other burning questions: Is that Madea as a cop?  Can Tyler Perry fill the shoes of Morgan Freeman who previously played Alex Cross in film adaptations of James Patterson’s novels?  Why on God’s green earth would they replace Idris Elba with Tyler Perry?  Is that Charlie from Party of Five?  So many unanswered questions—yet at the end of the day, Alex Cross is just okay.

Based on the character famously created by author James Patterson, Alex Cross is a thriller featuring Dr. Cross (Perry) as a detective in Detroit.  Cross is a family man with a beautiful wife and two kids.  But he has an intense job tracking down serial killers with his partner Tommy (Edward Burns) in a city riddled with crime. 

Enter Picasso (Matthew Fox).  Picasso is a methodical, insane assassin.  He is on a mission to kill multi-millionaire developer Leon Mercier (Jean Reno).  He starts by killing various persons connected to Mercier.  However, he doesn’t just kill them.  He paralyzes them with a drug so that they cannot move while he tortures them to death.  Picasso enjoys watching the pain, and even sketches drawings of his victims.  He is brutal, methodical and vicious.  Dr. Cross and Tommy are tasked with tracking Picasso down; and as they draw closer to him, Picasso turns his laser focus on the detectives and their loved ones.

Let’s start with the good news.  Matthew Fox is phenomenal as Picasso.  Physically, he altered his appearance.  He lost a substantial amount of weight while maintaining muscle definition and there is something incredibly disconcerting about his physical appearance.  The angles of his body, the shaved head, the way Fox moves—it is all quite menacing.  Moreover, the look in Fox’s eyes and the detached fashion in which he engages in acts of extreme violence is incredibly disturbing.  He is without a doubt, the best part of the film.

In addition, the plot of the film has some twists, turns and emotional pull to it; and there were some surprisingly funny lines.  However, at the end of the day,Tyler Perry is not Idris Elba.  Period.  Much to Perry’s credit, he has created a franchise cross-dressing as Madea.  But he is so tied to that character, that when he branches out into male roles, it is just unbelievable.  I have a hard time watching Perry shirtless or in intense scenes that require rage and machismo.  Perry tries to play the tough guy but oftentimes, it just rings false and borderlines on bad acting.  Some of the other acting in the film is bizarre as well.  I’ve loved Jean Reno since The Professional, but his performance in this film leaves a lot to be desired.

Moreover, the film strays a lot from how I envision Cross.  Cross is more of a loner—brilliant, but caught up in a world chasing serial killers.  By giving Cross a partner, a family, and adding humor to the film, it sets a completely different tone. 

With all of that being said, the large crowd of AARP members who attended my showing of Alex Cross seemed to enjoy it.  In comparison to the other Cross films, I would say that it is not as good as Kiss the Girls, but more enjoyable than Along Came a Spider.  I give the film a strong .09 rating.  Try a long island ice tea with this one.