The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Alex Cross | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Alex Cross

Directed by: Rob Cohen
Starring: Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, Edward Burns, Rachel Nichols, Jean Reno, Cicely Tyson

Homicide detective Alex Cross (Perry) tackles a serial killer (Fox).

Fox is one of those classic movie serial killers with a ridiculously toned physique, creepy tattoos and a fondness for quoting Confucius. He doesn't do things by halves either. When we first meet him he's taking part in a cage fight just to get the attention of the girlfriend of a rich businessman. She invites him home where they indulge in some hilarious flirting based around their mutual love of eastern philosophy. He dispatches her along with her bodyguards who seem to have arrived straight from central casting. Called to the scene is Perry, Detroit's top homicide detective, and his "Irish" partner Burns. Like a cross between John Shaft and Sherlock Holmes, Perry figures it all out somehow and thanks to a bowl of severed fingers, follows the trail to a shady corporation staffed by comical German stereotypes. From there the plot gets more and more ridiculous.
We've seen the character of Alex Cross before. In 1997's 'Kiss the Girls' and it's 2001 sequel 'Along Came a Spider' the part was essayed by no less than Morgan Freeman. For this latest incarnation the producers have opted for a casting choice well out of left-field. Perry is practically unknown on this side of the Atlantic but Stateside he's a big deal. Best known for a series of low-budget films in which he plays an elderly black matriarch named 'Madea', Perry has cornered a niche market and experienced a mind-boggling level of box-office success. Made for a pittance, his films usually end up in the top five on their opening weekends. At a time when Hollywood aims for the broadest audience possible, Perry has made a fortune doing just the opposite. 'Big Momma's House' has shown us there's a market for black cross-dressing movies but Perry narrows his audience down further by filling his movies with preachy evangelical Protestant themes. Now Hollywood is after a cut of this action but this movie couldn't be further away from the sort of light quasi-religious fluff he's made a name on. 
'Alex Cross' is hilariously bad but, despite the negative hype against him, Perry's not the main source of amusement here. He's not a bad actor but he certainly lacks the charisma to carry a lead role, especially one previously associated with Morgan Freeman. The problem rather lies with the abominably bad script. With each scene, the writers dig themselves deeper into a plot-hole so by the end nothing you've witnessed makes any sense. The dialogue is some of the worst I've heard this year, with gems like "You don't play the game, the game plays you" and "If you walk out that door, how you gonna walk back in?". Couple this with the ADD directing style of Rob Cohen and the whole affair feels like it was made by an Ed Wood disciple who won the state lottery. 
The attempts to please Perry's inbuilt audience amount to little more than racial stereotyping. Particularly dodgy is the character of Perry's mother (Tyson) who possesses so much sass you expect her to break out in an Aretha Franklin cover at any moment. She seems to live with her son and dispenses "soulful" wisdom and cooks chicken (what else?). It's easy to see why Freeman passed.
Alex Cross (2012) on IMDb 4.8/10