Blallywood Film Review: Alex Cross
In this film, Perry packs up his curly gray wig and frumpy house dress to portray a sharply observant, righteous, and compassionate forensic psychologist and police detective. Dr. Alex Cross. Sought out for his discerning eye, he leads a team of specially trained detectives to investigate difficult homicides. Other players include his old school mother (the timeless and vibrant Cicely Tyson), his wife Maria (portrayed by Carmen Ejogo, recently seen in Sparkle) and of course the villain who they call “Picasso” (Matthew Fox). In what felt like a really long episode of Law and Order: SVU, Dr. Cross assumes he’s tracking a typical serial killer when he’s called on the scene of a quadruple murder at a mansion on the outskirts of the city. In the usual swift crime-solving pace, he and his team put pieces together to discover that this is no typical killer, but a trained assassin with a specific target. When Cross gets to close for comfort, Picasso targets his family and murders his pregnant wife. The battle becomes personal and Cross, like a bloodhound, hunts Picasso and gets the best of him in a brutal battle in an abandoned movie theatre.
If you aren’t aware, Alex Cross isn’t a new character. He came into existence in the mind of foremost contemporary author James Patterson. He wrote a series of books which this character, of which three have been made into movies– Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider featured Morgan Freeman as Cross and this latest incarnation featured Perry. We’re used to seeing Perry in full drag as the comedic pistol-packing Madea, but this movie is a far cry from housecoat and hot grits; Perry’s portrayal of Dr. Cross was really believable. There’s a strength and wrath from Perry that we’ve never seen before. He really shows promise as an action hero. There were also really thrilling camera angles and cinematography in spots. One such shot was from the backseat of Picasso’s car as he sped away from an assassination attempt. For a split second, it feels as if you’re in the back seat of his car. The affect was quite cool. Also, Fox was very sleek and almost animalistic in his portrayal of Picasso. The final fight sequence held it’s own- the fight choreography was brutal and very static. It lacked certain fluidity but I think that made it more realistic. Fox almost seemed to enjoy the pain being inflicted by Dr. Cross, which made his character memorably dangerous.
However, the plot is very thin, which is perhaps why producers chose someone with such box-office power as Perry. The story lags in spots and is incredibly predictable. There’s no depth or spontaneity to the story line and stereotypes abound. Cross’s partner is screwing one of the female detectives, putting the department in jeopardy. The Chief of Police is a bumbling idiot who has his eyes set on becoming a political figure, blah blah blah. To be honest, I’m not sure what exactly bored me so much about the film, except perhaps that we lived equally in both worlds. Dr. Cross was calculating and accurate in anticipating Picasso’s strategy but because we (the audience) knew Picasso’s strategy already, somehow it just wasn’t very interesting. It felt like it belonged in a line-up of equally thin and predictable action movies that roll out every summer. In short, my popcorn and fruit snacks were the stars of this film. Skip it unless you know Tyler Perry personally and would like to put more money in his already bulging pockets. D.