I only recently have started reading some of James Patterson’s Alex Cross novels. They are pretty decent, I love the short chapters it makes the books fly by. The two movies based off his books which starred Morgan Freeman as Alex Cross were both “alright” at best. Kiss the Girls had moments and Along Came a Spider had a solid ending but most of the movie was average. So this reboot of the franchise seemed like the right approach, problem is they hired the wrong director for the material and then aiming for a PG-13 rating simply drives this movie into the ground. The bright side is the actors in this movie try so hard they almost save it from being a disaster, the key word though is almost.
The plot follows Alex Cross who is a Detroit detective. We open watching him and his team track down a rapist. Here is the problem, from the start of this movie they approach it as an action film, or at best a high budget episode of Criminal Minds. Tyler Perry who we’re used to seeing in drag is playing Cross here. He is strong here, very believable and his demeanor is like a big teddy bear and so you almost instantly are rooting for Cross. We treated very quickly to meeting Cross’s family, he has two kids, a grand mother and a pregnant wife. His family is so big though we never really get to know them at all. Which I guess is fine since the films focus isn’t really on them.
Matthew Fox known mainly from the show Lost shows up here as one of the craziest assassins we’ve seen in a long time. His performance is so great that it almost saves the entire movie. You can tell he enjoyed himself with the over the top dialogue. His character has a simple goal, kill three rich people. When Alex Cross gets in his way, he takes it personally and goes after him and his team.
So we’ve gone over the good stuff, now for the rest of it, the film is a mess, directed by Rob Cohen who decided to make the film look like any CBS cop show. The movie never really knows if it’s a dark cop movie, or an action movie. The films rating also hurts it, if the violence was allowed to be a little more hard core I think there would have brought a lot more weight to it. SPOILERS!!!…. Okay… You ready? So this movie feels pretty generic up until one moment. The villain goes after Alex Cross personally, he does this by torturing a female detective to death and then moments later shooting and killing Cross’s pregnant wife. I was so taken back by this, what a dramatic move for such a generic movie. Problem is Cohen still played it like a TV movie and the moment doesn’t hit as hard as it should.
So the movie isn’t a dark cop movie. So I guess it’s an action film… Well if that’s the case it’s a terrible action movie. A show down between Matthew Fox and Cross is so badly filmed I had no idea what was happening. Again the rating really hut this movie big time. Nothing had any weight too it. Even though there are violent concepts and lead characters are murdered, I never really felt it. Everything comes off bland and simple.
Patterson’s books are dark and filled with minor twists. This film has no flow and never do they really show Alex Cross being a cop. He basically magically figures out what the bad guy is doing. It’s just too generic, this was not the way to approach making an Alex Cross movie. Make it dark, allow the twists from the book to stay. I feel like all of the blame is on Rob Cohen here, with the performance we’re given the film should have worked, and yet when it’s over, you just shrug it off because nothing really sticks. It’s a shame because Alex Cross should work as a franchise, I think Tyler Perry is perfect for him, yet with this failure we might have to wait another five or so years before a good swing at it is taken.