So what do you do when you want to reboot novelist, James Patterson's beloved literary character formerly assayed by the Oscar winning legend Morgan Freeman? Well you hire director of The Fast and the Furious - Rob Cohen, ask Matthew Fox to get on the ‘Iggy Pop meth diet’ and get the African American cult filmmaker famous for 'Cross'-dressing (oh yeah you just had a pungasm) Tyler Perry to ruin Alex Cross for book and film fans alike. Detroit Detective Dr. Alex Cross (Perry) and team (including Ed Burns) are assigned to a particularly heinous case of murders and torture perpetrated by a killer dubbed 'Picasso' (Fox). When Cross intervenes in Picasso's plans - his team and family become the targets. For those uninitiated, Dr Alex Cross is Patterson's famed FBI profiler whose renowned expertise assists in the capture of a slew of interesting and colourful serial killers. Alex Cross takes us back to Cross' career in the Detroit PD and sets up his 'origin' story.
Cohen’s generic action sensibilities do nothing to steer the awful interpretation of the source material by Marc Moss and Kerry Williamson. The only explanation is that the script was edited by a series of pre-schoolers. Patterson produced the film – which makes me think that he’s either a masochist or being subjected to some kind of secret Hollywood punishment.
There's really no element of this film that isn't bad. Perry's performance is constantly counterbalancing and circumventing the desired tone. Instead of ‘being’ Perry portraying intensity and demonstrating genius we’re constantly (and ham-fistedly) ‘told’ that Cross’ unique. And unfortunately his portly body doesn’t really cut it especially when Cohen decides that this ‘re-boot’ of the Cross character involves him getting all XXX in the third act.
Fox’s ‘Picasso’ portrays insane by shaking like a polaroid picture…of a crack addict. And when he’s not sketching mid torture that doubles as submissions for the back page of ‘Mad Magazine’ he’s cage fighting with professionals three weight divisions above him – but don’t you dare touch his face, you’ll regret it.
The terrible elements don’t stop there - Jean Reno’s wealthy business man, thanks to clumsy foreshadowing, becomes the most obvious (secret) villain of all time; John C. McGinley’s cast as the screaming Police Captain (a role he’s built to play – see Scrubs) and yet he’s silent throughout; there are sleazy ex-German guards whose dialogue is straight out of a Saturday Night Live Die Hard sketch.
Alex Cross is clumsily directed, poorly acted, and shoddily scripted to the point that with the right crowd you may find yourself laughing at the all the things wrong with it.
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Written by: Marc Moss, Kerry Williamson
Starring: Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, Ed Burns, Jean Reno
Alex Cross is released in Australia on the 8th of November 2012.
Blake Howard is a writer, a podcaster, the editor-in-chief & co-founder of Australian film blog Graffiti With Punctuation. Beginning his criticism APPRENTICESHIP as co-host of That Movie Show 2UE, Blake is now a member of the prestigious Online Film Critic Society, sways the Tomato Meter with Rotten Tomatoes approved reviews. See his articulated words and shrieks (mostly) here at Graffitiwithpunctuation.com and with DarkHorizons.com & 2SER Sydney weekly on Gaggle of Geeks.