For eons, the mountains and lakes alike have cried for what is right, for fate to cede that which we have great want: a Tyler Perry action film. But, hark! At long last, our most fervant hopes have been delivered in the form of Alex Cross, sprung forth from that same vestibule that dared to dream of a franchise called xXx.
But, hark, again! Mayhaps the Gods weren’t so cruel as seen in the mortal minds of men. Nay, indeed, mayhaps they looked t’wards their looking glass to see the truth: this movie would be boring.
These be not easy truths, instead painfully obvious ones. Alex Cross is supposed to be a shockingly violent crime thriller, but it could easily be called Madea’s Uneventful Nap.
Perry stars as a detective / family man who may or may not be named “Alex Cross” (we avoid spoilers in my reviews). He’s got an amazing partner and best friend in Edward Burns. He’s been offered a great job with a very flattering salary. He’s got a perfect family, including a live-in granny with attitude! Gee I hope nothing world-destroyingly awful happens to “Alex Cross”.
Things start looking down, though, when some dude starts killing people. Power players become targets in a completely unclear conspiracy against the royalty of Detroit which, sadly, does not include RoboCop. Can “Cross” stop the dude that has started killing people before he kills somebody more important than the last victim?
This dude that starts killing people is played by Matthew Fox, and Matthew Fox is really bad at it. As a Lost fan who just wants to do whatever Jack Shephard tells him to, it hurts me to see how totally disconnected he is as the insanely homicidal dude that starts killing people. The mania Fox applies to the character is slabbed on too thickly, and while he’s going for something like Hannibal Lector or Heath Ledger’s Joker, Fox more closely resembles a bad parody of either of those madmen.
But ironically, he’s the only thing this movie has going for it. In the face of Perry, who’s not nearly unfriendly enough to prop up the desperate retaliation of “Cross,” which the script treats as being like someone as badass as Charles Bronson, Fox is batshit enough to send the film’s heartbeat into dangerous territory. He’s kind of like a car crash during the Indy 500 – it’s not a good thing, but at least that guy isn’t running around in circles like everyone else.
In the experienced hands of Rob Cohen, Alex Cross is safe from achieving utter failure; but it fails to achieve much of anything else. Absent-minded steadicam is distractingly pointless, like when the image shakes in eight directions while focused on a woman sitting behind her desk. And scenes filmed in photogenically desolate Detroit landmarks fail to spark an interesting image.
But worst of all, Cohen directs an action thriller with no signs of life. How can we be thrilled when we’re so dang bored? Alas, a riddle not even the gods can answer.