Alex Cross (2012)

If only Madea decided to dress-up for the occasion.

The plot centers on Alex Cross (Tyler Perry) trying to resolve a series of grisly murders by the cunning and sadistic killer (Matthew Fox), who just so happens to be more of a threat than Cross, or anybody else on the task-force, had originally imagined.

Since I’m not much of a reader, I usually depend on the movie-adaptations to give me something good and reasonable that makes me feel like I have already read the book, without even opening it up. Maybe I’m lazy, maybe I’m a dummy, and maybe I depend too much on movies, but all I know, is that I like to watch movies rather than read books. That’s why I’m a movie critic and not a book critic (thank the heavens for that). However, movie-adaptations like this make me feel like it’s time for me to get my ass out to a Barnes & Noble (notice how I didn’t say Borders, RIP), and start reading what was really supposed to happen in the first-place, until Hollywood had to take it over and shit everything up.

This is not the first Alex Cross movie to ever be done before. Apparently Morgan Freeman starred in two of those adaptations and did pretty well, both for the movie and for the books as well. Sadly, it seems like Hollywood wanted to see what they could stretch out of that series once again and it’s a stupid-move that they should have just left with the Freeman. But, you would think with a director like Rob Cohen (who has done fun, but dumb action-flicks like The Fast and the Furious, XXX, and Stealth), that there would be something even remotely promising to see, but somehow. Cohen totally drops the ball on that idea.

I’ve never been a fan of Cohen, but the guy does have some fun movies to his credit but this one, is not one of them mainly because it seems like a lazy direction from the guy. Nothing here feels like anything new, original, or improved that we haven’t seen before already and just feels like one, long episode of CSI that you have to go out and pay for actually see. That wouldn’t have been so bad either, if the film just decided to relax a little bit with it’s camera-movements but they didn’t, and instead gave me a freakin’ head-ache. And when I mean that it gave me a head-ache, I mean exactly that.

I’ve seen so many damn films that have this shaky-cam, and they have all bothered me but have never made me sick or had any physical impact on me, until I saw this movie. Seriously, it’s so bad that during one scene where Perry and Fox face-off in what was supposed to be a climactic/epic head-to-head battle, that you cannot what is happening to who in the fight. You see people getting hit and you hear some damage being done, mainly because of the corny sound-effects, but there’s no actual sight of or understanding of what’s happening. It’s just a camera moving in such a rapid-fire way that it will anger even the biggest Tony Scott fans. Yes, it’s that bad.

However, when there’s a will, there is a way and I can’t say that this movie was all that terrible in every-aspect, especially in terms of the acting. I highly doubt that people imagined Tyler Perry would be the go-to-guy to take over a role that was once captured so famously by Morgan Freeman, because so many people thought it would have been Idris Elba in the role. And in all honesty, Elba would have done such a better job with a this role, even though Perry’s not all that terrible either. It’s obvious that Perry has a decent-amount of likability to him that shines through most of the movie, and for about the first 30 minutes, he captures that well and makes it seem believable. The problem that he runs into is when the film, and his character start to take a darker-edge towards everything and it feels very-forced in a way that didn’t even seem like Perry was all that infuriated. His character is supposed to mad and hellbent on revenge for something tragic that has happened to him, but it never feels like he actually is, and more or less, just feels like a guy that’s a little ticked-off. Can’t say why he’s ticked-off in the first-place, but it’s something that would infuriate anybody, but apparently Alex Cross is too composed for that.

The main villain who causes this tragedy, is named Picasso and is played by an almost unrecognizable Matthew Fox. When this movie was all said and done, I felt really bad for Fox because the guy goes through this huge and insane physical transformation that really seems like he put a lot of hard-work into, but seems undeserved for a movie that doesn’t really do anything with it, let alone even show it all that much to freak us the hell out. Since the camera is always shaking it’s ass off as if it was in a wild, ecstasy-fueled rave, Fox’s clean-cut body never gets to see the full light-of-day and is barely shown in it’s full-look to actually have us intimidated by what this guy can and most likely could do with his body. However, I can’t put too much of the blame on the camera as it’s also Fox to blame for this character being an ultra-lame villain that just seems like he’s phoning it all in, with crazy eyes and all. He’s a laughable villain, that never seems like a real threat to Cross and for the most part, never feels like Cross is even a real threat to him either. They just feel like two guys that have a problem with one another, but still don’t have anything special about either of them that could really eff-up the other person. It’s just a lame and boring rivalry that never feels fully-established.

As for the rest of the cast, they’re all okay but once again, it’s a bunch of talent that feels wasted on material that couldn’t give a shit if they were in these roles or not, they’re just there to fill them in. Edward Burns is good as Cross’ buddy/fellow-cop and does his usual Irish-guy shtick that we all know and love by now, but even his relationship with Cross feels lack it really lacks something to make it memorable and believable friendship that could stand all of the heart-ache that they go through. Rachel Nichols once again shows-up as another sexy girl, in a movie that sucks and does fine with it, but still feels like she deserves bigger and better for her looks and talents; Jean Reno is fine, but only shows up for 7 minutes throughout the whole film; Dr. Cox, aka John C. McGinley feels like he’s really lost in this movie and deserves way, way better; and Cicely Tyson probably does the best job of the whole cast as Cross’ mommy, who shows up to give nice advice on life and what he should do next.

Consensus: Alex Cross is what you expect from any conventional/unoriginal detective-movie that feels like it could have been so much better, but just isn’t because of it’s lazy-direction, under-written roles that feels like a big waste of time for the talent that’s in them, and an incredible over-use of the “crack-cam” that I always hate to see in movies, except for The Bourne Ultimatum, but I’m going to act like I didn’t even mention that movie in the review for this one.



  1. I felt compelled to comment mostly because you said you don’t read that much. Well, that’s a huge flaw in a movie critic. Because you essentially write, and what better way to improve writing than reading (well, writing is a pretty good way too, but it won’t do you much good without some reading to go with it)?
    Here are a few grammar mistakes that some extra reading would prevent:
    “with it’s camera-movements” vs “”with its camera-movements” ”
    “but all I know, is” no comma there
    “pay for actually see” vs “pay to actually see”
    “but they didn’t” vs “but it didn’t”
    “always shaking it’s ass off” vs “always shaking its ass off”
    Maybe these are just lack of proof-reading, but since you say you don’t read that much they might be for lack of reading.
    Reading enriches you as a human being, and will enrich your views and your writing.
    Well, this sounded more like preaching than what I intended. You write a review almost daily and I do it once a month, so I guess you get a lot better at it. So ignore everything I just wrote! 😀

    • you know you could have just not posted the comment if you thought it sounded too preachy… and I personally think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with not reading every book that you see a movie on. In any case I guess I’m the kind of person who prefers to pay attention to the substance of a review and not the incorrect commas, so maybe that makes me a shitty reviewer too…

      • I thought about not posting, because people are allergic to any kind of criticism. So I imagine you just took an enormous amount of penicillin…
        Look, you said you basically don’t read and I read your review and found a few mistakes that detracted from the review. I suggested that might be the cause.
        I’m a fan of Bukowski and give never gave a flying fuck about grammar or spelling, but hey, a review is writing. The content is what you present. Saying you care more about the content in a review doesn’t mean you igonore the rest. I care a lot about the argument of a movie than the gimmicks that go with it, but I would mind if it were shot on an iPhone.
        I probably sounded preachy again… still, it’s just a comment. Maybe you’ll find it more useful than one saying your blog is great and I loved your review.

  2. hey man cracking review. to be honest i haven’t heard a good thing about this film so far, most reviewers dislike the film with a passion and have complained immensly about the shaky cam. is it really that bad? this probably sounds stupid but i may just watch this film just to see if the shaky cam is actually THAT bad.

  3. It might be lame of me, but personally I enjoyed the film. I also have read the books though. I will agree that the shaky camera got a little of hand, and there were some scenes that felt awkward to watch because they weren’t done that great. While I do enjoy the Alex Cross books, I will also say they aren’t the most amazingly developed books in the world, so it’s not like the source material is a lot to work with in the first place.

    To sum it up this might be a movie only the readers of the series can find some enjoyment in.

    • II think people who were expecting a similar ‘feel’ to Alex Cross with Tyler Perry than the previous installments with Morgan Freeman were naive to expect this and shouldn’t slam this version just because it fails to meet these particular expectations. I personally liked the movie…it was less dark and gloomy. I think Michael Fox and Tyler Perry did a great job.

  4. W/ Tyler Perry involved, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Madea had shown up and changed the name to Alex Cross-Dressing. I imagine it would have produced a more fulfilling experience in all regards

  5. Like you, I also struggle to find time to read when there are so many films out there to watch (and what I do read is usually film bios/screenplays).

    It sounds like this is as bad as the trailer makes it look. I’ll be skipping this and giving Jack Reacher a chance instead in the battle of the literary hatd-ass adaptations.

  6. I am not a fan of the Madea movies so I’m not super familiar with Tyler Perry, however I am a big reader and a fan of James Patterson. Since he’s sold about a bazillion books I was wondering why there weren’t more Alex Cross movies…However, I didn’t hear about this movie until right before it came out…maybe because it is not so good? Oh well, I might watch it sometime on tv, but it certainly didn’t hang around my local movie theater long enough for me to get there. I certainly would have never thought about Perry for Cross though!

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