Movie Review: ALEX CROSS

(l to r) Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox in “Alex Cross”

Release date: October 19, 2012
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Screenplay by: Marc Moss and Kerry Williamson
Cast: Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, Edward Burns, Rachel Nichols, Jean Reno
Rating: PG-13; Running Time: 101 minutes

A reboot? For the likes of Detective Alex Cross? The real mystery here is why anyone would greenlight an origin story for James Patterson’s fairly unimpressive flatfoot. To jar the collective memory, Cross was initially introduced to the screen via Morgan Freeman’s performances in 2001′s Along Came a Spider and 1997′s Kiss the Girls. Freeman aside, the Cross character isn’t fit to shine the gum-shoes of, say, a Sherlock Holmes, a Philip Marlowe or a Hercule Poirot … hell, not even the clown shoes of an Inspector Clouseau. And speaking of clown shoes, given the wooden acting, hackneyed script and embarrassing direction, Alex Cross may provide more unintended laughs than any Pink Panther comedy in recent memory.

According to press releases published in the summer of 2010, British actor Idris Elba (Prometheus, and the television series Luther and The Wire) had signed on to play Cross, with David Twohy (The Fugitive, A Perfect Getaway) set to adapt Patterson’s twelfth book of the series, simply entitled “Cross.” Given Elba’s impressive dramatic talent, the project might have worked. But changing actors is obviously not the same as changing clothes … and while Madea‘s Tyler Perry can slip into his female character’s wigs and plus-size dresses just fine, his attempt to squeeze into the guise of this astute psychologist/detective strains at both the seams as well as the credibility.

Here, a younger Detective Cross is situated in Detroit (with Cleveland standing in for that location), living with his pretty pregnant wife, two kids and outspoken mother. Cross and lifelong buddy turned partner Tommy Kane (Edward Burns) are called to the scene of a multiple homicide in the high-end part of town. Professional body guards have been slain, and a wealthy young woman has been tortured to death, one severed finger at a time. Oh joy. Meanwhile, we’ve already met the killer, a nasty, skeletal assassin named Picasso (Matthew Fox of Lost fame). When Picasso is foiled during his subsequent hit by the good detective, Cross himself gets crossed up in Picasso’s crosshairs.

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