There are a number of few well-known authors in this world, and fewer that have their works made into a number of films. John Grisham and Stephen King come to mind for both television and movie adaptations. Another author is James Patterson and his iconic character of Alex Cross. Cross has been seen before in film played by Morgan Freeman in both “Kiss the Girls” and “Along Came a Spider”. Eleven years later, Tyler Perry took over the role in “Alex Cross”. This film was based off of Paterson’s twelfth book in the series, Cross, so how well did it do?
Alex Cross (Tyler Perry) is a police lieutenant and natural profiler who can decipher a scene of the crime as if he were Sherlock Holmes. His two Watsons are played by Edward Burns and Rachel Nichols. Burns plays Cross’s long-time best friend, Thomas Kane. When word comes around that a psychopath going by the name of “The Butcher” (Matthew Fox) is killing people, it is up to Alex Cross to use his seemingly limitless intelligence to find and stop him before he kills again. However, when The Butcher finds out he has Cross in his crossfires, Cross finds out the lengths that the serial killer is willing to go to finish his mission.
Alright, we have to get other critics opinions out in the open. It is clear by a majority of critics that they hate the movie and think it is terrible. I want to first state that I fully understand where they are coming from, but I did respect it more, even if not by much. So I will go ahead and get the bad out first. Whoever was in charge of casting could not have made more of a worse choice than Tyler Perry for the role of Alex Cross. There are certain scenes that required an emotional return that Tyler Perry just could not submit. There is one scene in particular, without giving it away, where his mood swings from sadness to acting like he completely forgot what made him sad in the first place…as if it never happened.
The movie also had trouble deciding on what kind of genre it wanted to be. First there is action, and then there is ABC Family-worthy melodrama, and then there is the cat and mouse chase to find the villain. In all honesty, it is the melodrama that felt out of place. It was as if Tyler Perry had a say in how the family scenes would go, and he put his very own Tyler Perry spark in there with the sassy grandma. The action was also very tacky. I will not even put it lightly when I say this felt like a failed pilot pitch to NBC for a new Alex Cross television show. Why? It felt like a mid-90’s made-for-television movie special on Saturday night. Nothing more, nothing less. The music felt like it was just tossed in there last second, and in all honesty it really was disappointing all around.
There is goodness to this movie that a lot of critics overlooked. First off, I want to say that it was pretty clear that Matthew Fox was the superior actor in the entire thing. He put so much heart and soul into this film, and how he transformed his body for a role in a movie that turned out the way it did is unfortunate. He tried very hard to pull off his role, but because of the combination of lighting and bad camerawork, it just doesn’t seem like he performed all that well.
I want to also state that this is based off of a James Patterson book. If anyone is a fan of Patterson and have read a few of his novels, you might start to understand how he writes things. He has a style, which is pretty procedural, has interesting characters (especially villains), with heroes that you can connect with and love. While this film was missing the connection with the characters, the story was procedural, and it did have an interesting villain. These things just weren’t conveyed properly, and it is just a simple fact that some of his books are better off books in the long run. This is one of those films.
The make-up was actually done pretty well, as was what little CGI was incorporated into the film. That being said, the rest of the overbearingly bad things associated with this movie are hard to get over. In the end, all you can really say is that they tried. Well hey, you get an A for effort, but you really didn’t do so hot on much of anything else. Better luck next time.
Check out “Alex Cross” for yourself when it is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Feb. 5!