In an attempt to revive a franchise, Alex Cross, an adaptation of the novel by James Patterson, offers little stimulation. Tyler Perry ditches the fat suit and wig to star as the title character. Alex Cross takes place in Detroit, where a crazed killer is targeting European big-shots.
For all the laughs Perry garners as Madea, he elicits just as many grimaces and eye rolls as Alex Cross. Perry comes off as awkward and clumsy lacking the sophistication and skill that Morgan Freeman brought to the same role in Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls. The audience is supposed to believe that Cross possesses Sherlock Holmes’ type clairvoyance but it seems forced and undeserved. However that fault lies more with the lazy script than with Perry. The audience could perhaps even forgive this lapse in judgment if Perry managed to look the part of an action hero. How many actors have confessed to upping their work outs and dieting to beef up for the role of action super star? Countless. But not Tyler Perry. He opted for the jelly donut diet in which the results are flabby arms and a soggy mid-section.
The villain Picasso, played by Lost’s Matthew Fox is probably the most interesting character because Fox committed completely to a stereotypical psycho-killer with a penchant for torturing beautiful young women. Cicely Tyson gives a strong performance and Alex Cross’ mother, although the necessity of her role is up for debate. Other additions to the cast include Edward Burns as Tommy Kane, Alex Cross’ best friend since grade school, Jean Reno as Giles Mercier the CEO and main target of Picasso, John C. McGinley as the Chief of the Detroit Police Department.
Speaking of Detroit, its presence in the movie was virtually non-existent. With all the film incentives available you would think that the bulk of the movie would be filmed in Detroit, instead of Ohio. With the exception of the Detroit Police cars and the mention of Woodward and Caniff, there is nothing even remotely resembling Detroit until a missile is launched from the people mover late in the movie.
This movie is largely a failure due to its poor script. It was painfully stale and didn’t leave the actors a lot of room to work. This is not Tyler Perry’s break out action role. Although he may deserve another shot.