‘Alex Cross’, a crime thriller produced by Summit Entertainment and directed by Rob Cohen opened this past weekend. The film adaptation of the bestseller ‘Cross’ by James Patterson was highly anticipated, but not so much for the storyline or even the adaptation in comparison to the book. No, the anticipation was about whether or not Tyler Perry (Madea’s Family Reunion, Good Deeds) could stretch from his comedic comfort zone to an action packed role with fight sequences! Perry delivers and he does so without robbing the ingenious Morgan Freeman of anything in his portrayals of Alex Cross (Along Came A Spider, Kiss The Girls).
Make no mistake, Perry has been shifting the minds of his faithful following into this new territory right along with him. Earlier this year, he sent an email to fans asking for their support of ‘Good Deeds’ and urging them to perform a good deed for someone in their own communities. This was a successful but mild stretch for Perry as he displayed characteristics of power, authority, compassion and sensuality. Then again, with counterparts like Thandie Newton and Gabrielle Union, what man wouldn’t pull these traits to the forefront.
Nevertheless, ‘Alex Cross’ was a huge leap for Perry who has garnered much success as the flip talking, gun toting, 6’2″ grey haired Madea. Though there were times when Alex Cross spoke and we could hear a little Madea in his voice, Perry did an amazing job of selling us on his ability to do more than make us laugh.
The film opened with action, following Cross (Perry) a skilled detective/psychologist in hot pursuit of a criminal. He and his team which includes Kane (Edward Burns) and Ashe (Rachel Nichols) are seemingly always on duty. However, their next case is more than any of them bargained for – a hired assassin named Picasso, (illustrated in a compelling and irrefutable performance by Matthew Fox, ‘Lost’) is loose in Detroit and its up to Cross and his team to figure out a way to stop him. The trio end up on Picasso’s (Fox) hitlist after a close run-in and the chase becomes personal for Cross when those nearest and dearest to him become targets.
One of the most surprising scenes include Cross (Perry) getting out of bed dawning nothing more than his pajama bottoms. He stands for several frames bearing his newly chiseled chest, arms and abs. In an interview with Katie Couric, he said he lost 30 lbs. for the role. Who would have thought Madea was hiding all that under those saggy boobs.
Another scene that caught many by surprise was the fight sequence with Cross (Perry) and Picasso (Fox). While Fox was more than convincing as a psychotic serial killer with hands for weapons, there was nothing comedic about the punches, kicks and upper cuts from Perry. As a first timer in a brand new arena, we give Perry four stars for his performance and look forward to more action from Perry in the future.
‘Alex Cross’ grossed $11.4m during opening weekend and is now playing in theaters.