'Alex Cross' is a grim but silly thriller
"Alex Cross," directed by Rob Cohen and starring Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, Edward Burns, Rachel Nichols, Cicely Tyson and others, is a grim but silly thriller, writes Seattle Times movie critic Moira Macdonald in this review. Among the film's many problems is that Perry plays a younger version of a character originally played on screen by Morgan Freeman, and suffers by the inevitable comparison. The film is playing at several Seattle-area theaters.
Seattle Times movie critic
'Alex Cross,' with Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, Edward Burns, Rachel Nichols, Cicely Tyson, Carmen Ejogo, Giancarlo Esposito, John C. McGinley, Jean Reno. Directed by Rob Cohen, from a screenplay by Mark Moss and Kerry Williamson, based on the novel "Cross" by James Patterson. 102 minutes. Rated PG-13 for violence including disturbing images, sexual content, language, drug references and nudity. Several theaters.
In "Alex Cross," Tyler Perry plays the younger version of a James Patterson character originally played on screen by Morgan Freeman, in "Kiss the Girls" and "Along Came a Spider." This is kind of like being the actress who plays a younger Meryl Streep — it's an inevitable comparison, but one nobody would want. (Remember the junior Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady"? No, you probably don't.) Freeman, even in lesser movies, is a treasure of American cinema; Perry, here, is simply adequate. You watch with memories of Freeman in your head, marveling at the difference between competence and mastery.
"Alex Cross" is a grim yet silly piece of work, even as serial-killer thrillers go. (It's so silly that John C. McGinley, far better known as Bob Slydell from "Office Space," plays a police chief; audience members at the preview giggled when they saw him, perhaps wondering if he was about to lay somebody off.) Cross, a homicide detective/psychologist in Detroit, is on the trail of a nasty killer known as Picasso (Matthew Fox, scarily gaunt), who has an uncanny knack for weapons concealment and sewer navigation. With his chipper partner Tommy Vane (Ed Burns), Cross investigates a series of gruesome murders — including one that's very personal. It culminates, as surely all investigations do, with two men dangling from the crumbling ceiling of an old theater. Who will fall? Why are they in a theater? Does it matter?
Jean Reno trails through the movie, looking like he's smelling something faintly unpleasant, as French industrialist Gilles Mercier; Cicely Tyson throws herself into the role of Cross' redoubtable, no-nonsense mother. (You wonder why she doesn't just go catch the murderer herself, which would have made for a much better movie. This lady does not waste time.) Director Rob Cohen lets "Alex Cross" plod along, killing off characters right and left (the women in this movie should watch their backs), pausing so Cross can have weird trance-like revelations about the crime. It's blandly competent but never interesting; a movie without a spark. Or a Freeman.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or email@example.com