Alex Cross (2012) Directed by Rob Cohen. Starring: Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox and Rachel Nichols. IMDB says: ”A homicide detective is pushed to the brink of his moral and physical limits as he tangles with a ferociously skilled serial killer who specializes in torture and pain.”
Setting the scene: The film opens to a police chase in progress in a dilapidated warehouse in Detroit. Two cops, one male and one female, feverishly on the run, race towards and unknown assailant, guns at the ready. Alex Cross appears in the chase. I know this because I know what Tyler Perry looks like. He is ahead of the cop duo by a sizable distance. They shoot. Is this a look forward at what’s to come? How did Alex Cross get himself in a position where he is being hunted by the cops I assume he used to work with? Oh wait, now there’s another runner, this one is obviously the perp. Alex is chasing him as well. The duo fails to get their man but Alex is there to save the day. After the incoherent direction of the opening chase scene, Alex and the other cops leave the building relieved. He passes a blonde white woman on a gurney. The audience has never seen her before and I assume she is someone the bad guy hurt, or something? Anyway she struggles to mumble at Dr. Cross. He turns his attention to her and lightly touches her shoulder. “What is it?” The unknown woman replies “Thank you for saving my life!” Cross humbly replies that it is what he does and her apologies are unnecessary.
After witnessing this utterly painful first five minutes of the film, I thought ‘holy shit, that was pretty fucking terrible. BUT we’re only a few minutes in, the main baddie hasn’t even appeared and there aren’t any cool mysteries on the table yet. Surely this is too early to judge the caliber of the film.’ I was so, so wrong. Alex Cross is an absolutely abysmal film and the worst I have seen this year.
The movie centers on super detective Alex Cross (duh) as he works with Detroit police to take down an increasingly dangerous serial killer played by Matthew Fox (who ends up being the only semi-interesting prospect in the film.) The character Alex Cross was created by popular author James Patterson and has been used in a multitude of his books. Movie fans may recognize the character from Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider, both played by Morgan Freeman. The Tyler Perry Alex Cross film describes the detective as having great powers of observation and a keen sense of human condition thanks to his degree in psychology. The problem is, they don’t show the audience this by way of clever case solving, they just have the character notice completely erroneous clues and one of the cops says something like “he can tell you had scrambled eggs for breakfast a mile away!” I was a little disappointed when the film never showed him doing anything remotely that interesting.
At best, this movie could have been a decent crime thriller. Maybe a nice call back to the slew of pulpy thrillers that swept through the 90s. But instead, this movie combines careless direction, a horrendous screenplay and miscast actors in a bubbling pot of shit stew. If you ever plan to watch this and also want to die from alcohol poisoning, be sure to take a drink every time a crime thriller cliche occurs. It’s fairly disgusting how simplistic and ridiculous all the pieces are in the film. Scene after scene, you’re treated to every obvious ‘clue’ you can think of, every mind-numbing twist of fate you’ve seen a billion times before. The film is completely stale thanks to an embarrassingly uninspired script. I honestly felt bad for the actors during 85% of the film. I cringed when John C. McGinley showed up and audibly groaned when Giancarlo Esposito made an appearance. It will come as no surprise that both talents are completely wasted and both characters almost entirely useless to the plot.
I have a lot of vitriol for this film that may or may not have to do with the fact that I was forced to sit through the entire thing. Had this been on tv I would have just changed the channel and went about my day. But the movie is so lazy and impossible at every level that I just felt so angry. I couldn’t wait to bitch about this after it was over but the rest of my theater seemed to have a different reaction to it’s conclusion. A solid portion of the audience clapped in approval at a film I considered to be awful. So, what do I know, right?
Alex Crossis out in theaters October 19th.