I first saw an advert for this movie during one of my previous trips to cinema. The fact that it had Matthew Fox, Jack Shepard from the TV show Lost, in the role of villain, was enough to convince me to take a chance on this movie. Sadly, what could have been a brilliant thriller turned out to be just average with such a weak script and plotline, that if it hadn’t been for Matthew Fox, the movie would have scored much less.
For all you avid fans of James Pattersons Alex Cross series of novels, be warned. This is very loosely based on the first book in the series. I haven’t read any of these books, but after seeing the movie, I checked out the first one on amazon only to see how different the two are.
On a side note, I also found out that the character, Alex Cross played by Tyler Perry, is supposed to be the younger version of Morgan Freemans character in Along Came a Spider and Kiss The Girls. I know! I know! I’m digressing from this movie, but you need these facts in order to get where I am coming from with my feelings on this movie.
So, Alex Cross. The premise of this movie is basically that Detective Dr Alex Cross is assigned to a high profile case, where he is trying to profile and catch Matthew Fox’s character, Picasso.
Picasso is a hit man/assassin for hire. In this case, he has been hired to kill three high profile executives from some big multinational company. Pretty standard stuff really.
Cross prevents the second assassination, but by doing so he turns Picassos attention from his original targets, onto both him and the members of his team. This leads to tragedy and I must admit I did tear up when his wife was murdered. From here, the movie takes a very sharp turn. It was almost like two completely different movies and this is why I refer to the Morgan Freeman movies.
Alex Cross goes from thinker, philosopher and psychologist to a vigilante. This is completely at odds with how the character is portrayed in the Morgan Freeman films. I understand that this great tragedy befell Cross, but it seemed almost out of character for him to do a 180, especially when he makes a VERY shady deal with one of Chicago’s mob bosses.
If the filmmakers were really dedicated to this plot line, they should have made it much more gradual. They could have expanded this cat and mouse game so that Picasso chipped away slowly at who Cross was, until he became an almost mirror image of Picasso.
Unsurprisingly, Cross prevails over Picasso. Rather than it being a well thought out plan or any real detective work, it is all due to coincidences and dumb luck. When Cross does succeed over Picasso, I didn’t feel any triumph or satisfaction. For me there was no pay-off in the end, even when the person who hired Picasso to assassinate the three executives.
What is so frustrating that with a better script and a better director, you could have had a fantastic origin film.
I’m unfamiliar with Perry, so my only comment is that he did seem rather unsuitable for the role. Again this could be due to the script, but his performance came across rather two-dimensional and wooden. The only real bit of acting was when he was consoling his daughter after his mother’s funeral.
Then we come to Picasso. *shakes head* Oh, dear what a wasted opportunity there was with this character. Here, we had the possibility of a villain to rival Hannibal Lector. Fox did manage to portray the psychopathic assassin very well with the limited screen time he had. Every time he came on screen, you were left wondering what he would do next. Yet, by the time the credits rolled I still had no idea who he was or what his motivation was. What shaped him into this devil?
Overall, I thought this was an ok movie let down by a complete lack of understanding of the source material. It is one of those types of film where you have to leave your brain at the door and just go with it. For me, the filmmakers didn’t know whether they wanted an origin film, which had a more psychological thriller type feel to it, or an action movie where the hero shoots his way out of the ending.
So, if you are a fan of the books, skip this and re-watch Along Came A Spider or Kiss The Girls. If you are looking for an action movie, pick up the Bourne films. This was a big miss and actually made Skyfall seem a lot better.
RATING: 1 Star
ALEX CROSS (2012)
DIRECTOR: Rob Cohen
STARRING: Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, Edward Burns, Jean Reno
GENRE: Crime, Thriller, Action