Alex Cross is a movie adaptation of James Patterson's twelfth novel in the Alex Cross crime series. Rated PG-13 for violence, including disturbing images, sexual content, language, drug references and nudity, Alex Cross is your average action-crime-mystery film genre with a running time of 101 minutes.
There is nothing unexpected in the story of this movie. It is the usual protagonist-villain plot, where 'A' commits a crime and 'B' figures out the next target which prevents the next crime to take place. 'A' then gets back at 'B' and kills one of his family members and finally 'B' kills 'A'. The story is not complete without revealing a 'C' who anonymously contracted 'A' to kill 'C', which, as it always turns out, is 'C's' cover up for his financial fiasco.
Tyler Perry plays the role of Alex Cross, a top rank homicide psychologist-detective at Detroit Police Department. His moral, psychological, and physical limits are put to test when he lost his pregnant wife to a sniper bullet pulled by the vicious and deranged serial killer known as Michael "The Butcher" Sullivan. Alex Cross is Tyler Perry's first lead role in a movie which he has not written, directed, or produced. (Tyler Perry is an accomplished writer, director, producer and actor). He portrays the character of a sharp profiler who, above all, is a father and a husband. Despite Alex Cross' seemingly flawless attributes, the film also tries to show him as an average person who can make a mistake and can use his authority to retaliate. Unfortunately, Tyler Perry did not seem to make a very convincing Alex Cross. The weakness is not entirely due to his performance, but rather to a combination of a poor script, rough editing and lack of artistic cohesion.
Matthew Fox as Michael 'The Butcher' Sullivan. Image Courtesy of Summit Entertainment
On the other hand, Matthew Fox who plays the villain (Michael "The Butcher" Sullivan) embodies his character with credibility. Most probably remembered by his fans as a calm, soft-hearted Dr. Jack Shephard from the television series "Lost", Fox in this movie confirms that he can detach himself from his Jack image and can effectively execute the complete opposite. His new physique, having lost nearly 35 pounds to play the part of Michael (also dubbed as Picasso by Alex Cross' team because of the charcoal drawing found in the crime scene), is a complement to his psychopathic character.
Directing Alex Cross movie is "The Fast and the Furious" director Rob Cohen. There are some impressive shots that Cohen captures skillfully to create the mood of the scene and to lead the audience to apprehension of what is going on. A good example is the capture of subtle facial expression depicting Michael "The Butcher's" sudden awareness that the woman he sees in a fleeting moment through his rifle lens is Alex Cross' wife (who he would kill impulsively). Another example is the shots in fighting arena at the beginning of the film, where the camera probed every nook and cranny of the dome to create tension. The railcar footage and the fighting scene in Daramus Holiday's office building are presented with imaginative flair. But other than these isolated first-rate directing skills, other directing decisions are questionable. For example, the deliberate shaky movement of the camera and the fast wiping transition to show the next sector of the setting become disruptive of the flow of the film after a while.
There are not so many fighting and torture scenes in this movie. The intent is deduced from the background music which, although not something one can remember and can sing along with, effectively creates the tension. This will later on to be confirmed through dialogues and photos.
Although most likely not going to become a box office hit, this film will surely entice Tyler Perry's and Jack Shephard's fans to see their heroes play fresh roles. Other co-stars include Edward Burns, Rachel Nichols, Cicely Tyson, Carmen Ejogo, Giancarlo Esposito, John C. McGinley and Jean Reno.