Review: Tyler Perry’s “Alex Cross” is no Morgan Freeman

October 19th, 2012 at 12:32 am by under Entertainment

Its hard to replace an iconic actor … and even though its the best acting I’ve seen from Tyler Perry… he’s certainly no Morgan Freeman as “Alex Cross”.

A warning to parents: this movie is rated PG-13, although it feels a lot more like a rated “R” movie.

“Alex Cross” poster courtesy Summit Entertainment

(My spoiler-free review)

Uneasy and sleazy … the two words I considered putting in the title of this review… also the two words that best describe this movie.

Uneasy: the movie includes torture scenes involving dismemberment, a psychotic killer that takes torturing his victims to new heights, and some of the camera work isn’t just “off the shoulder” its very unstable and nausea-inducing.

Sleazy:the only character development for one couple is in the bedroom, plus, the movie involves some risque behavior for the villain and one of his victims… a scene that goes on too long for those familiar with this franchise.

And maybe that’s my problem with it… I am forced to compare this with the Freeman as Alex Cross movies “Kiss the Girls” (1997) and “Along Came A Spider” (2001).  Those movies did have standards, perhaps standards that Freeman and his loyal fans brought/expected … or just followed his lead.  Sure the bad guys in those movies were sick and twisted, but many of the violent/salacious acts were either not completely shown or just merely implied.

In this 2012 version of the Dr. Alex Cross character, its supposed to be earlier in his career, before he’s a well known forensic psychologist, before he’s working in Washington, D.C., before he’s a best selling author.  While I understand some of the backstory they are trying to build and flesh out during this movie, I think it was all forced because there is too much running around to really get any character development going.

The scenes we get attempting to develop the characters are weak dialogue exchanges with his buddy “Tommy” played by Edward Burns.  There is one scene with “Tommy” and “Alex” near the end of the movie that actually does develop character and chemistry, but its too little too late!  Burns is a good actor, but most of his dialogue is shallow one-liners, while Perry gets decent scripted lines… it often feels like lines are just being read instead of characters speaking naturally.

Why does this matter?  Despite a decent thriller plot (with some holes), its just a story if we don’t get character development.  If we don’t get character development – we don’t care what happens to Dr. Alex Cross (Perry), his partner Tommy (Burns),  his partner Monica (Rachel Nichols), Chief Brookwell (John C. McGinley), Alex’s wife – Maria Cross (Carmen Ejogo), or the rest of the cast.  Jean Reno and Cicely Tyson are other members of this cast that are respected actors, but their  characters are basically caricatures.  Most of the dialogue for all the characters is weak with no depth or emotion – its the kind of stuff I could have written back in 5th grade.

The best acting in this movie is Matthew Fox’s villain … he transformed himself physically and, it seems, psychologically to become this twisted cold-blooded killer.  He is the bad guy… he’s feared and fearless, he’s cold and calculated, he seems unbeatable and you want to see him beaten.  He’s  evil like many of the other bad guys that Dr. Cross has encountered.  Its an intense role and it shines above the rest of this dull, lackluster movie.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

I wanted to like “Alex Cross” and I wanted it to fit in nicely as part of the larger Dr. Cross story, but I was disappointed… I give it 6.0 out of 10.  While this movie was not a complete waste of time, you shouldn’t rush out and see it.  You certainly shouldn’t pay full price to see it…. if you can wait for it to move to a second run theater, then do it.  But the best advice is to wait for it to come out on DVD so you can watch it with the comfort of your remote control.

MORE INFO (possible spoilers):

Tyler Perry and Matthew Fox in “Alex Cross” photo courtesy Summit Entertainment

“Alex Cross”

(2012) (rated: PG-13 for violence including disturbing images, sexual content, language, drug references, and nudity)
(1 hr, 41 min)

Starring: Tyler Perry, Edward Burns, Matthew Fox, Rachel Nichols, Giancarlo Esposito, Jean Reno, John C. McGinley, Carmen Ejogo, Chad Lindberg, Yara Shahidi, Cicely Tyson, Stephanie Jacobsen, Sayeed Shahidi, Jessalyn Wanlim

Director: Rob Cohen ["The Fast and the Furious" (2001), "xXx" (2002)]

Genre: Crime/Mystery/Thriller

The Plot: After Washington DC detective Alex Cross is told that a woman has been murdered, he vows to track down the killer. He soon discovers that she was not his first victim and that things are not what they seem.

More info: a prequel to “Kiss the Girls” (1997) and “Along Came A Spider” (2001) with Morgan Freeman

Filmed in: Detroit, Michigan, Akron, Ohio, Cleveland Ohio, Bali, Indonesia

So what did you think?  Please post a comment!

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“Alex Cross” poster and photo courtesy Summit Entertainment

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