Friday, October 19, 2012


Alex Cross

Alex Cross Alex Cross is a character created by writer James Patterson in his novels, and is played twice by the commanding Morgan Freeman in "Along Came a Spider" (USA 2001) and "Kiss the Girls" (USA 1997). Dr. Cross should have been left alone. However, director Rob Cohen tries to revive Dr. Cross franchise in his unconvincing crime action drama "Alex Cross" (USA 2012 | 101 min.), and let Tyler Perry replaces Morgan Freeman as Alex Cross. That merits a new police investigation on identity theft on Dr. Cross.

The film's titular character, Dr. Alex Cross (Tyler Perry), is a cop at the Detroit Police Department, hunting down criminals with his dumb partner Tommy Kane (Edward Burns). Alex Cross has an incredible instinct for picking up clues and reaching amazing conclusions. He behaves just like a psychic, because if his talent is based on logic or intelligence, the film is not telling. He simply can instantly spot his focal point, and then Tommy feeds Alex's finding to the audience, because Cross is too cool to elaborate them himself. They are just like typical buddies in any cop movie.

Following a multiple homicides, they begin a cat and mouse chasing game with a psychopath killer—Picasso (Matthew Fox) who enjoys torturing his victims and getting excited by their pain. Often, Picasso outsmarts Alex Cross.

That game becomes personal when Picasso turns his aim to Alex Cross instead of his intended assassination targets. The urge for vengeance dominates Alex Cross's pursuit even he is still wearing the badge of the Detroit Police Department.

Oh, I am sure you all can guess how it finally ends.

Tyler Perry and Matthew Fox in Alex Cross

Almost none of the film's one-dimensional characters are convincing, nor does the plot. They exist because the film needs to show off some action scenes. That might work if the film were to keep us engaged by rolling out the action sequences. Instead, director Rob Cohen constantly stops the action and blends in laughable melodrama, which is emotionally detachable and only serves as an unconvincing and agitating distraction to the crime investigation story.

However, Matthew Fox gives a surprising and plausible performance as the psychopath Picasso, a dark character that has a potential to be developed deeper. Matthew Fox completely transforms himself into a creepy and enraged sadist. Unlike most crime thrillers in which a serial killer often hides behind the spot light (e.g. "Se7en"), Picasso appears at the front and center from the very beginning to the very end of the film. He often acts like a CIA agent and physically more capable than anyone else. Unfortunately, like everyone else in the movie and the movie itself, he is not very smart either.

In the end, you probably have doubt if Tyler Perry is the real Dr. Alex Cross, or maybe he simply steals the identity of Alex Cross. I am sure Matthew Fox knows the answer since he has been watching Tyler Perry's every move in the film.

"Alex Cross," a Summit Entertainment release, opens on Friday, October 19, 2012 at Bay Area theaters.

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