Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Alex Cross’ Review: Fantastic Fox Meets Cheesy Plot

“Alex Cross” is one of the most manipulative and unoriginal crime thrillers I’ve seen.

Alex Cross was first covered by Morgan Freeman in “Kiss the Girls” and “Along Came A Spider.” These films came out over a decade ago and were hardly a box-office hit. My guess is that this origin story of “Alex Cross” will need to rely on the fan base of the series written by James Patterson and more importantly, Tyler Perry.

Cross (Perry) is a clever detective who investigates crime in the city of Detroit. His partners Thomas Cane (Edwards Burns) and Monica Ashe (Rachel Nichols) are on the hunt for a serial killer named Picasso (Matthew Fox). The psychopath is known for his complex charcoal drawings he leaves of his victims, who are typically Detroit’s rich and powerful. When the case takes an unsettling and personal turn for Cross, he works even hard to hunt down the killer and seek justice.

Director Rob Cohen’s (“The Fast and the Furious,” “XXX”) “Alex Cross” is to tell the story of why the detective eventually makes the move from Detroit to Washington, D.C. (where the series is based). Who knows if there will eventually be a sequel, but with the actor/director/produced/screenwriter’s fan base, there is a strong possibility this won’t be the only Cross movie starring Perry.

Perry, who is known for starring in his own movies like the “Why Did I Get Married?” series and this year’s “Good Deeds” hasn’t done much in the action-crime-thriller world. He does a good job of leading the movie from start to finish and building up the tension throughout. Perry isn’t the problem here, it’s the cheesy dialogue, goofy action sequences and uninteresting characters.

There is a scene in the film, where after an explosion, a guy is on fire and screams, “Ahhh!” diving right into the camera. So stupid. Also the product placement is pretty obvious, which therefore makes it pretty bad. McDonald’s, OnStar and Cadillac must’ve paid a pretty penny to be in the film.

Fox (ABC’s “Lost”) is fantastic as the film’s villainous psychopath killer. It’s amazing how I can adore him on “Lost” and completely fear him in this film. It looks like he lost weight and packed up some arm muscles since I last saw him on-screen, which was maybe 2008’s “Vantage Point?” But it’s not only his physical changes that create the part, he is creepy as hell. His eyes and body movements are frightening and he proves he doesn’t have to be classified as the sexy Dr. Jack Shephard his whole life.

Yes, the performances are good here, but that’s not enough to make this film stellar. When creating a crime-drama, you need to be far more original than what we see here. “Alex Cross” may be OK to watch on cable TV, but not in the movie theater.

Unless you’re a major Tyler Perry or Matthew Fox fan, rent another, more original crime thriller like “Drive,” “Fargo,” or “The Departed.”

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