Perry gets ‘Cross’ in action debut
Tyler Perry in "Alex Cross."
Updated: October 19, 2012 11:01AM
Have you ever noticed how unreasonable crazed killers can be?
Take, for instance, the psycho hit-man who’s efficiently whacking corporate execs in this sicko-violent yet ho-hum crime thriller, until detective/clinical psychologist Alex Cross and his team thwart one of his attempts. Then decides to take their interference very personally.
Now, psychotic or not, The Butcher (Matthew Fox of TV’s “Lost”) should know that the Cross squad (Tyler Perry in his action-movie debut, taking over the role Morgan Freeman played in “Along Came a Spider” and “Kill the Girls and Make Them Cry”) is only doing its job, right? And that Det. Cross (or is it Dr. Cross? Calling him both, as characters tend to do here, gets to be a bit of a mouthful) is obviously a super-nice guy, who has a kindly smile for everyone and prefers not to shoot people if at all possible. But no, The Butcher has to get bent out of shape and start slaughtering members of Cross’s crew and his loved ones as well.
Clearly unreasonable, wouldn’t you say? Not too bright, either, as it turns out. Cross doesn’t seem overly concerned when The Butcher drugs, tortures and murders one of his co-workers, but when family starts to die, he becomes seriously miffed.
Not that you can always tell. Even after burying a family member and swearing to take down The Butcher as a personal matter, which includes going rogue and breaking all kinds rules for detective/clinical psychologists, Cross remains mild-mannered and soft-spoken. Though he does seethe a little now and then.
It’s hard to say, though, if that means action movies aren’t the ideal habitat for Perry or if director Rob Cohen (“The Fast and the Furious”) fell asleep at the switch.
Whatever the reason, “Alex Cross” never really clicks as an action film or a police procedural or anything else, with the possible exception of family melodrama. The pace is sluggish, the dialogue (especially the banter between Cross and his partner/lifelong best friend Tommy, played by Edward Burns) falls flat and plot twists are telegraphed long before they occur. The film only comes alive when Fox, who’s actually quite good as a truly boo-hiss villain, is on screen doing his disturbing torture/murder routine. Though his appearances leave a decidedly nasty after-taste.
What’s really needed here is an equally vivid and dynamic defender of justice — someone who can stand up for what’s good and decent while striking real fear into the hears of evil-doers like The Butcher.
Someone like Madea, perhaps?