There are nuggets of a good film in Alex Cross. I’m sure the original James Patterson novel is decent. But this movie? It’s bad in every way possible.
Tyler Perry (yes, that Tyler Perry) stars as the titular Detective Dr. Alex Cross, a supercop We’re told he’s a genius detective but this is expressed only by his ability to make a Mad Magazine fold-in of a sketch left at the crime scene which—inexplicably—contains a clue. He provides no emotion in his line delivery, maintaining a consistent level no matter the situation.
Matthew Fox provides the roots of a great performance, physically transforming himself into an imposing, frightening figure that is completely believable as a sociopathic assassin. It’s completely ruined by choices by director Rob Cohen who puts Picasso in the sunshine. When he’s in the shadows, there is none scarier. In the sunshine? He just looks silly.
Awful, confused supporting performance from John C. McGinnly who didn’t read the whole script before coming in and his character varied wildly from scene-to-scene. Ed Burns’ eyes scream, “forgive me, it’s for the paycheck” while wandering lifelessly through the movie. Rachel Nichols is forgotten as soon as she’s killed, a testament to the awful dynamic between the film’s primary characters.
The performances are an outgrowth of an atrocious script that does no justice to the Patterson source material. The clichéd dialogue is delivered without any enthusiasm, forcing us to fixate on the hackneyed, unbelievable plot that jumps around in both focus and tone. An ambling narrative that’s building to a conclusion nobody cares about by the end, the script may be where the problems start but it’s far from where they end.
Director Rob Cohen holds the blame for this mess. He replaces dramatic tension with melodramatic music and a shaky camera, as if that will somehow convince the audience that there is drama to be had in a police operator reading the VIN of a Cadillac. By the way, the movie is brought to you by Cadillac. And it’s set in Detroit. But not the scary city on the edge of collapse like in real life, it’s the city that is fine. But seriously, the movie is just one long car commercial.
The camera shakes so mightily during action scenes that the audience has no clue what is happening. There were thudding noises, however, and the music let me know when the bad guy had scored a blow by the sudden dramatic shift in the music’s done.
A mediocre episode of Criminal Minds is unadulterated genius compared to the awful storm of crap that is Alex Cross. It’s not even redeemably “so bad it’s good,” it’s just bad, on every level.
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