screened after WW
press deadlines, and this week's paper instead ran a Tyler Perry/James Patterson hack-off
. But our intrepid critic has since viewed the film—and take his review as your warning.
Critic's Grade: D-
Remember Kiss the Girls
and Along Came A Spider
? Those two generic detective-on-the-trail-of-a-serial-killer movies, starring Morgan Freeman as the brilliant Alex Cross? Nothing? But wait—the movie gods have a surprise in store for you. That’s right, the Alex Cross prequel you never knew you wanted is here, and it’s called…Alex Cross
. And this time it stars: Oh snap! Madea himself, Tyler Perry.
Admittedly, I went into this with expectations buried near the Earth’s core, but I like to think I’m fairly open-minded and that I give each movie a chance. But Alex Cross, directed by schlock peddler Rob Cohen (xXx, The Fast and the Furious), wasn’t even bad enough to enjoy ironically. It’s the worst kind of Hollywood product: middling, forgettable and kind of sad, especially because everyone involved really seems to be giving it the old college try.
My enjoyment atrophied almost right away, as the movie opened with an incredibly bland foot chase. Actually, that’s a lie—I gave up when I saw the tagline on the poster: “Don’t ever cross Alex Cross.” Even by most movie marketing standards, that’s just lame.
After that opening chase, Detective Dr. Cross (as he’s awkwardly referred to throughout the film) hangs with his family. He’s saintly, of course, making sure to spend quality time with his kids. But there’s a psycho killer on the loose, one Cross has to track down using his astonishing mind powers—he can get inside the mind of killers. The biggest unintentional laugh in the movie comes when Ed Burns (as Perry’s partner and best buddy) yells at Cross to “get inside his head!”
Matthew Fox plays the killer, who looks as if he could use a cheeseburger or two. He’s seriously gaunt. If he lost the weight in some attempt at method acting, then it’s even more of a shame, because this is one spectacularly awful performance. Fox distills every psychopathic villain from the last 20 years of cinema and reduces it all to twitches, bug-eyed stares and overly mannered pauses with every line reading. Like this entire movie, he’s really trying, which makes the failure that much harder to witness.
You’d think Alex Cross would have us begging for the return of Freeman in the lead role, because Perry is to Freeman as Coyote is to Road Runner: He just can’t win. But no, it’s really just best to forget this franchise exists at all.