Monday, October 22, 2012

Movie Review: Alex Cross

I don't see Tyler Perry movies simply because I'm not his target audience; they don't appeal to me. But when Tyler Perry was cast as the lead in an action movie I had to consider him as more than just the man who wrote and directed movies and plays for black women, I had to actually consider him as an actor.

Well played, Tyler Perry, well played.

Alex Cross (Tyler Perry) is a Detroit PD detective tackling the city's most high profile cases. After a young woman is tortured to death in an affluent neighborhood, Cross follows the only clue the killer, dubbed "Picasso" (Matthew Fox), leaves behind to his next target. Detecting Picasso's pattern, Cross squares off in a game of wits with the life of Leon Mercier (Jean Reno) hanging in the balance. But after the death of a fellow detective, Cross has to keep the rest of his unit and family safe by capturing Picasso.

Alex Cross was a solid movie and by solid I mean average. It didn't knock me off my feet but it didn't let me down either.
Unlike the previous psychological thrillers, Kiss the Girls and Along Came A Spider, Alex Cross is an action film that didn't delve very deep but I wouldn't call it shallow. The beginning felt rushed with a lot happening fast in order to set up the cat and mouse game between Cross and Picasso but the movie settled quite nicely once their game began.

Matthew Fox was 100% psycho as Picasso but the dynamics of the Picasso character was sacrificed for the action. Picasso is touted as being a notorious serial killer but as far as the movie is concerned he's only a hired gun, albeit, the best. You will find out why Picasso was involved in the murders but you never learn his motivation to be a killer in the first place. However, salvation came in the fact that the movie pulled out all of the stops and allowed every worst case scenario to unfold at Cross' expense which pushed his moral boundaries in the name of justice to stop Picasso.

Idris Elba was originally cast to play Alex Cross so Idris Elba fans will probably be disappointed just because he (seemingly) fits the "action" mold better. But I didn't care either way, I just want the actor to actually act and convince me of his character and I think Tyler Perry did that. The overall casting of the movie seemed to cater to Black America with established actors Cicely Tyson as Cross' mother, Nana Mama, Giancarlo Esposito as Cross' informant, Daramus Holiday, and Carmen Ejogo rounding out the supporting cast as Cross' wife, Maria.

But something is going to give when you go from an intellectual, reflective Morgan Freeman version of Alex Cross to an action hero Alex Cross. The script cheaply played up Cross' psychological prowess in heavy doses in between action scenes rather than Cross being the constant thinker from previous films. So it would be unfair for me to place the shortcomings of the movie squarely on the shoulders of Tyler Perry. Madea did slip out a few times when Cross was frantic but when he was angry Tyler Perry saw red as Alex Cross. And if you hadn't noticed, Tyler Perry isn't a small dude so the director used that to Cross' advantage during the fight scenes - Cross threw his weight around with heavy kicks and blows. However, the shaky-cam effect was just way too much during the fight scene which took away from it.

Say what you want about Tyler Perry but I think he wants to break his own mold in order for us to take him serious at this acting thing. The question is will you give him a chance?

Movie Moment of Zen:
The Tyler Perry fans who came dressed in their Sunday-best to a midnite showing.


Disclaimer: I’m an employee of Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner, however the views expressed in this post are of my own.

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