Cop dramas are about a dime a dozen these days. Whether it’s about a cop trying to catch a violent criminal or about an honest cop trying to deal with corruption within the department, there hasn’t been any new development within the genre for the last couple decades.
Alex Cross, based on the the novel Cross by James Patterson, shares the same fate as other cop dramas that have come before it. Though it has sporadic moments of suspense, the film offers little in terms of originality, making it quite predictable and hackneyed.
After a gruesome murder involving a woman being tortured to death, the Detroit police calls in Detective Alex Cross (Tyler Perry) and his team to investigate. After some deductions, Cross soon finds himself on the trail of a dangerous hitman, whom Cross dubs Picasso (Matthew Fox). Picasso soon takes a hostile interest in Cross, threatening his family, which soon puts Cross in a vengeful frenzy, trying to find Picasso before it’s too late.
Director Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious, Stealth) and screenwriters Marc Moss (Along Came A Spider) and Kerry Williamson (feature film debut) adapt Patterson’s novel, turning it from a crime suspense story to an action-packed cop film. Unfortunately, Patterson’s brilliance in lost and replaced with loud explosions and blurry fight sequences.
The main problem with Alex Cross isn’t just the cookie-cutter cop drama nature, but the pandering to Tyler Perry fans. Some of the writing, like the interactions between Cross and his mother (Cicely Tyson), seems like it was ripped out of a Madea film, making it difficult to separate Perry’s performance here from anything else he’s done — which ironically seemed like Perry was trying to do by taking on this role. Tyler Perry and Matthew Fox manage decent performances here, but both actors merely maintain the same demeanor almost throughout the whole movie, so, much like the movie itself, it’s not much to write home about.
FINAL VERDICT: Alex Cross manages a few moments of suspense, but is lost on mediocre writing, blurry fight sequences, and flat acting. It won’t take attention away from Tyler Perry’s other work, and it’s hard to say whether there will be another chapter in this film series. But it was a valiant effort to have Perry do something other than Madea.
Alex Cross comes to theaters October 19, 2012