Tyler Perry. Whether you like him or not, he is kind of a big deal in modern entertainment. Sure, he is more popular in the African American crowd with his insanely popular Madea movies, which he writes and directs himself. I myself am not a huge Tyler Perry fan, and though I did really like his production Precious, his writing/directorial efforts tend to have some terrible performances and major tonal issues. However, the highly religious based filmmaker takes an interesting turn as he stars in another director’s movie that is not a drama, but a high octane action thriller. So, we have a man who has no prior action movie experience stepping into a role that has been previously played by Morgan Freeman (see Along Came A Spider). Sound illogical? It is. The end result is Alex Cross. Based on the best selling series of adult detective novels by James Patterson, Alex Cross follows the detective as he investigates a killer who specializes in pain. Yes, that is the entire plot. Sound conventional and boring? It definitely is.
I have never read any of the novels by Patterson but I hope and pray that they are better than this film because Alex Cross is one of the most laughably scripted, clichéd, and carelessly made films I have seen all year. Let’s kill two birds with one stone here: Matthew Foxx and Tyler Perry are bearable. Yes, believe it or not, for what he is given, Perry does a bearable job. Does that mean I bought him as an action star? No way. His character, for one, was so poorly written and underdeveloped and, although Perry’s performance is evidently attempting, it comes nowhere near Morgan Freeman’s greatness. Perry should have never taken this role. However, Matthew Foxx has a lot of fun in his role and barely holds this film from receiving my lowest grade, which I haven’t formally given a single film this year. Aside from those two aspects, this film is complete garbage. The script is absolutely atrocious. An example would be a character saying to another character, “I would rather take advice from a ham sandwich.” Really? That’s the best line you can come up with? Even the film’s marketing tagline is crap. “Don’t ever cross Alex Cross.” Come on now. The direction feels sloppy as he (Rob Cohen, The Fast and the Furious) just doesn’t care about the film at all. The camerawork is the worst aspect of the entire film. If you read my Taken 2 review you read that I wasn’t a fan at all of the shaky cam used during the fight scenes. With Alex Cross, the entire film, fight scenes specifically, are filmed in shaky cam and it is used to terrible effect. During the final fight scene, the cameraman is literally just shaking the camera up and down. Sorry cameraman, but there is a difference between shaky cam and shaking the camera.
So, concluding this short review, I will say that Alex Cross is both a predictable, poorly written, poorly acted, and disastrously filmed “thriller” that in no way lives up to the standard of that genre. This is one of the absolute worst movies of 2012 so far.
Run Time: 103 mins
Rated: PG-13 for violence including disturbing images, sexual content, language, drug references, and nudity
Starring: Tyler Perry, Matthew Foxx, Edward Burns, Jean Reno, Carmen Ejogo, and Cicely Tyson
Writer(s): Marc Moss, Kerry Williamson
Director(s): Rob Cohen