‘Alex Cross’ Review

Published 3 years ago by , Updated November 18th, 2014 at 4:08 am,

Alex Cross Reviews starring Tyler Perry and Matthew Fox Alex Cross Review

Perry is solid enough that – in the hands of a better director, and with a script that doesn’t try to depict Cross as an action hero – he could conceivably carry another installment of the franchise.

Alex Cross acts as prequel/reboot of the movie franchise centered around author James Patterson’s popular detective character, who was previously played by Morgan Freeman in the films Kiss the Girls (1997) and Along Came a Spider (2001). Media mogul Tyler Perry steps into the role of Cross this time, in an origin story about how the brilliant investigator went from head of a Detroit police special unit, to the older, wiser, FBI profiler seen in in the aforementioned films.

When a ruthless assassin (Matthew Fox) shows up in town to off some high-ranking business people, Cross and his team step in to intervene. However, when the killer turns his attention on Cross, it proves to have dire consequences for the lawman and those around him. Before long, Dr. Cross is no longer on a case – he’s locked into a battle to hold on to everything (and everyone) he holds dear.

Directed by action movie veteran Rob Cohen (Fast and the Furious, xXxThe Mummy 3Stealth), Alex Cross fits in lock-and-step with the other entries of the filmmaker’s resume: thin, B-movie genre entertainment. That’s not to say there isn’t anything to enjoy in the film, but unlike the Freeman-era of Cross films, the 2012 version is less concerned with substance and character, and more concerned with providing the standard set piece-to-set piece thrills, with a heavy dramatic piece wedged awkwardly into the middle. And nothing about it feels fresh or necessary.

Carmen Ejogo and Tyler Perry in Alex Cross 2012 Alex Cross Review

Cohen – who has never been shy about playing in the sand box of modern CGI filmmaking – has created a film that feels strangely anachronistic. From the cinematography to the shot choices, to the bad dialogue, makeup and stunt work, it wouldn’t be hard to convince an uninformed viewer that Alex Cross was released years before Kiss the Girls, as it has pretty much every trademark of an early-to-mid-90s, B-movie action flick (I had  Die Hard 3 deja vu several times while watching it).

As mentioned, the script by newcomer Kerry Williamson and Marc Moss (who wrote Along Came a Spider – the inferior Morgan Freeman Cross film) hits some pretty uneven beats. The early establishment of our killer is interesting, but the establishment of our detectives is awkward and obvious; the first act of mystery and action is compelling enough, but then things suddenly lurch into an intense drama come the second act. By the time the third act starts, the narrative is flailing badly, focus is lost, many of the plot points and red herrings dangled early on get ignored entirely, and things fizzle out into an unimpressive and ultimately underwhelming climax, with a lot of muddled story leftover.

Tyler Perry is a mixed bag as Cross. He conveys the character’s intellect well, and carries the heavier dramatic portions better than a lot of other leading men could, but the former stage play writer/actor also carries too much melodrama in his dialogue delivery at times, and it is hard to view him as an action star in any kind of way. The previous films wisely kept the action stunts at a minimum.

Matthew Fox in Alex Cross 2012 570x378 Alex Cross Review

Matthew Fox in Alex Cross

Matthew Fox is almost too freaky as the killer (who’s never actually named in the film), having undergone a radical physical transformation from his role as Dr. Jack on Lost. Here, Fox is nothing but lean muscle; a kind of jacked version of Christian Bale in The Machinist. Add to that his wild stare, twitch mannerisms  and off-beat delivery, and it’s safe to say that the actor (through sheer force of will) livens up what is ostensibly an undercooked character. In many ways, it’s Fox (not Perry) who carries this film.

There are a lot of solid actors filling out the supporting cast – though almost every one of them gets short-changed, given the talent. A distracting subplot involving Cross’ teammates (played by Ed Burns and Rachel Nichols) has none of the impact it’s supposed to; iconic actress Cicely Tyson (as Cross’ mother) interacts with Perry as if the two are in a stage play (that overdose of melodrama I mentioned); while quality character actors like Jean Reno (The Professional), John C. McGinely (Scrubs) and Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) are rationed out minimal screen time to play one-dimensional bit characters.

Tyler Perry Rachel Nichols and Ed Burns in Alex Cross 2012 Alex Cross Review

Tyler Perry, Rachel Nichols and Ed Burns in ‘Alex Cross’

Where Alex Cross does get it right is in the tense scenes of cat-and-mouse between Cross and the killer. There are a couple set piece moments that definitely fulfill the promise of a good thriller – but again, the final act is so shoddy that an overall sense of payoff is never achieved. When your “big finish” consists of shaky-cam fight choreography and shots so poorly conceived that you can see the stuntman’s wig, it’s hard to call the movie a winner. Still, Perry is solid enough that – in the hands of a better director, and with a script that doesn’t try to depict Cross as an action hero – he could conceivably carry another installment of the franchise.

Unfortunately for Dr. Cross, getting to that next chapter might be a hard sell for audiences, as there is little in this current one to leave them hungry for more.

Alex Cross is now playing in theaters. It is Rated PG-13 for violence including disturbing images, sexual content, language, drug references, and nudity.

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Our Rating:

2 out of 5

TAGS: Alex cross
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  1. It’s at 12% at Rotten Tomatoes. lol.

    As my father once told me.
    “Once you start acting like a b****, people will only see you as b****”

    • ZING!

      • alex cross is one of my favorite detectives i ever read . love the books i thought was great. action packed loved it.

    • Zingers!

  2. I am a huge fan of the books. I also liked the film. For me its not as bad as the article says. This is much better than the Freeman films.

    • i believe you more than kofi´s reviews(no sarcasm), i will watch it. also,what´s going on here with all that racist thema,we are talking about a movie,not politics. but i must say one thing and i hope i will not be deleted after. i like this site a lot, but mr. young you are too strong if you remote or delate now or before some comments. i understand that you delate it before a discussion gets contoverial and overheated and out of control. but,often if we talk about movies, i´ve seen enough comments that should be deleted but wouldn´´t .

      • @Merdan – My friend I’m assuming English is your 2nd language? I mean no offense by that, just that I’m trying my best to decipher what you are trying to say through the broken English so forgive me please if I misunderstand.

        We aren’t staffed to monitor comments 24/7 but when I do go through all of them several times a day. This conversation just happened to start during my checks but I stopped it once I saw it escalating.

        As for deleting your comment – you said nothing inappropriate so there isn’t a reason to remove it.

        Paul Young – Moderator

        • @Shaniqua – Read whatever you want into my comments. Your opinion on it doesn’t concern me since the comment wasn’t directed at you.

          There is nothing racist about our site and we don’t allow racist-themed comments. I removed all the ones I deemed offensive – which included yours, since you decided to start calling people names.

          If you don’t like our site then you are always free to go somewhere else to read and comment.

          Paul Young – Moderator

          • To be honest, I also thought the bit about “I’m assuming English is your 2nd language” was unnecessary. I understood the gist of what they were trying to say, so why critique their English?

            Anyway, back on track, I’ll probably wait for this to come out on iTunes. The trailer looked interesting but reviews have been pretty abysmal, so it’s seeming like more of a rental now.

        • @Shaniqua, chill out, you’re killing the vibe…
          If you don’t like the thread, don’t post in it anymore. If you don’t like the site, don’t visit it anymore.
          if you keep ranting off topic, it spoils it for everyone.

          You certainly have a right to your opinions, and I’ve left a few forums because I felt the trolling / tone / jokes were off color, but when you keep posting like you have in this particular thread it’s borderline trolling [IMO]

          just let it go. It’s hurting more than helping [again IMO]

  3. Haha!!!
    I love the additional option in the voting. Can you please add this to more reviews?
    Even if this got a decent review it would only be a rental for me. I read a few of the Alex Cross books and a few are enjoyable but they are basically all the same.
    Maybe I’ll check this out on a lazy Saturday when it hits cable.
    I should add though that I won’t be surprised if this movie makes a decent amount of money. So, there probably will be a sequel…

    • Yes. I would love to see this on EVERY movie review.

  4. TYLER perry has set the black culture back at least 30 years. he portrays them as stereotypes with no sense of knowledge or intelligence.hands down one of the worst people to ever live on earth.

    • So the countless reality shows of screaming black women fighting and acting the fool and rappers who portray the “gangster” lifestyle had nothing to do with it? This all just falls on Tyler Perry huh?

      • And there arent stupid white people in reality shows, music and other forms of media?

        • Wow … I think someone completely took JT’s comment completely the wrong way. O.o I believe, and they can correct me if I am wrong, that they were actually *defending* Tyler Perry a little.

          BTW, assuming that a white person is being racist *any* time they make a comment/critique about a black person is, in fact, racist on your part. Just because it’s against a white person DOES NOT mean that it isn’t racist. And while some people making comments may be racist, that doesn’t make every single white person in the world racist when they make any kind of comment about another race.

            • @Shaniqua – I just read your comments in the Sinister Spoilers Post. Only one person attacked you and I’ve removed their comment. You however shouted racism and called them names – That’s on you.

              I’m removing your comment as well.

              We get hundreds of comments a day on this site and occasionally some undesirables slip through. When that happens feel free to us the Contact Us page to let us know and we’ll address it ASAP.

              Paul Young – Moderator

    • Why is it that whenever a black person does something a racist white person come out? When white do anything you don’t see black people making racist comments. [Removed by moderator]

    • I haven’t seen a single Tyler Perry movie, and that’s because they really don’t appeal to me. There are many who feel that his, I guess the Wayans brothers, and maybe even early Martin kind of slapstick humor is more harmful than unappealing, I think we can all agree that at the very least, they’re polarizing. I think at one point, I would probably have agreed with your post, [without the vitriol of course] but now that I’m a little older, I think I can see the other side of the argument; “It has its place, it serves its purpose”. let’s just say it’s not for you, or does nothing for you, or I, and move on. I checked the last vote option, but I don’t feel nearly as much negative energy about this genre of filmmaking as I used to [in my younger years]

    • Yet every year,he’s amongst the top 5 entertainers in regards to money grossed.

      I’m not a fan of his work,but he must be doing something right.

  5. I’ve never liked Perry so I won’t be seeing this despite the fact that I enjoy the Alex Cross books. I think except for Morgan Freeman’s age, he was great as Dr. Cross.

    BTW, thanks for adding the other choice “don’t plan on seeing it”!

  6. I just got done seeing this with some coworkers and it’s easily one of the worst films I’ve seen this year. Perry was horrible and the movie script was beyond bad. Fox was alright but seemed a little too giddy at times. Burns was boring. I’d give it 1 star

  7. I’m just wondering why the movie isn’t called Tyler Perry’s: Alex Cross

  8. I hated the previous Alex Cross films, so I’m really glad they at least attempted to reboot the franchise. Although I’m waiting for DVD to see this one, its a DVD I’m excited about

  9. I saw an early screen on Tuesday and thought this film was weak. Perry was inconsistent and it felt like two different films, a decent half-developed Tyler Perry family drama, and a completely nonsensical mystery thriller where there was no real mystery, no police work, and no emotional impact. Matthew Fox’s transformation was amazing, but the lack of anything else noteworthy in the film. I had another major gripe but it is probably better reserved for spoiler discussion.

    • Totally agree with you,Idris Elba was born for this role !
      Lucky we still have him in LUTHER…is much better anyway in my opinion!

  10. unlike everyone else I never watched tyler perry movies before. Even after reading the reviews I will still go see this movie.

  11. To be honest I’d never even heard of Tyler Perry until he was cast in this role, when I viewed his resume on IMBD it didn’t exactly instil me with confidence (lots of Big Mamas House movies?) but then comedians are generally pretty good with dramatic roles, then I saw the trailer and was like hmmm that guy ain’t no Denzel!

    Kiss the Girls was a decent enough movie, riding on the wave of Seven like most late 90s thrillers, Along Came the Spider was atrocious! I will probably watch Alex Cross when it’s on tv late at night or when it is ultimately remixed on YouTube with a piss take of Madea clips

  12. ALL – Going forward if you’re comment isn’t related to the movie at hand then I’m going to remove it. This is not the forum to discuss race.

    Paul Young – Moderator

  13. So what if Tyler Perry wants to put on a dress it’s called comedy! I’m happy he took on the role of Alex Cross,it’s called expanding his roles and extending his character. Tyler Perry movies grossed millions and that speaks volumes as to the audience he captures. Why should Tyler Perry stop doing something he loves just because you don’t like it.

    • It’s not really him stopping what he loves it’s just that this role really didn’t do anything for him. When your lead actor is overshadowed by everyone else it’s not a good thing. In reality Fox stood out more than Perry did. The script and filming style didn’t help either but if you’re a good actor you can make an aweful movie look pretty decent. It’s nothing against Tyler Perry but some people just can’t see him in anything but comedy movies. It would be like taking Adam Sandler and having him be the lead role in Thor or be Mikael Blomkvist in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Some roles just doesn’t fit the person. He may end up being the perfect role for it later down his career but right now some people just don’t see him being in a serious role.

  14. It should be titled:

    Madea in Detroit : The Detective Years.

    • LOL

    • your sign on name speaks volumes about your attitude and character.

  15. This is my first time on this site for movie reviews and its sad. evryone is entitled to their opinion but why does race have to be involved. Then some people bring up the point that they only can see him playing comedic roles. Did you forget thats how will smith started? look at him now. Perry is very talented and a director. He makes other movies besides comedy. Serious movies too. If you dont like the movie fine but dont question that mans takent or character. At the end off the day after you leave this site you have to go back to you normal probably unhappy life while tyler perry is making moves. so let up. stop living threw the internet and leave race out of it

  16. I think this film was worth seeing despite the lack luster reviews that most critics gave it! All of the actors in this film were good, down to the performance given by Cross’s daughter. The bad guy aka killer, gave a stellar performance and Tyler Perry was very believable as Alex Cross in his first serious dramatic roll.

  17. Ok as a black man and insane movie buff, f Tyler perry. His films suck, repetitive crap. I understand catering to your audience(black women) but would Speilberg be Speilberg if he did 10 straight ET’s?
    Black actors already are disrespected in Hollywood because the roles go to reality stars and rappers. But it’s a double edged sword because nor black or white ppl support black movies outside Denzel, Diesel or Will. How much box office would say ‘inception’ made if the cast was black?

  18. Ok as a black man and insane movie buff, f Tyler perry. His films suck, repetitive crap. I understand catering to your audience(black women) but would Speilberg be Speilberg if he did 10 straight ET’s?
    Black actors already are disrespected in Hollywood because the roles go to reality stars and rappers. But it’s a double edged sword because nor black or white ppl support black movies outside Denzel, Diesel or Will. How much box office would say ‘inception’ made if the cast was black?

  19. Nana Momma is not Cross’ mother, she’s his grandmother who raised him after his father died.

    The movie left a lot to be desired. I agree that it needed better writers and a better director. I also wish they would have stuck closer to the James Patterson storyline.

  20. This is not a Tyler Perry Movie. It’s funny how people are contributing this as a Tyler Perry movie when it really isn’t. He merely acted in it. He didn’t write or Direct it but people are blaming him for this being a s***** as movie……interesting. Nobody blames Rob Cohen……lol.

  21. Well, M2C on the flick are as follows:

    WTH, WTF and Huh? They jacked up sooo much it wasn’t funny. My first thought was “Where the hell is Sampson?” who’s this cat at his elbow? “Detroit?”

    I loves me some Cicely Tyson, but she overplayed that role. She didn’t empower Nana. Speaking of which, “Momma?” A lot of folk raised by there grandma’s do call them “Momma”, but you didn’t get the sense that that was a term of endearment.
    Alex Cross’s supporting characters and landscape are what really make the novels flow. This was stunted.
    TP as Alex,… well, too much emotion, not enough cool seething control.
    The fight had me blinking and shaking my head due to the after image burns from the extreme close ups.
    I didn’t buy the assassin’s reason for going after cross either. That whole set up seemed forced upon the script. Not enough Cat and Mouse so to speak.

  22. Wow interesting direction these comments are going in… I for one find it insane that tyler perry is so incredibly successful. This shows what bad taste America has. I’m obvioulsy not the target audience here (white male) but with so much other great stuff out there I just find it crazy that this guy keeps making movies/ shows and now hes headlining them. I have no doubt the man has talent but he seems a bit out of range with this movie. First thing I thought when I saw the trailer is crucial villain, sub par protagonist, generic thriller setup. You can’t really root against the villain when you don’t care much for the hero. But I totally agree with the Idris Elba comments, that guy has some serious talent and would have been a better fit for the film.

    As for the race thing, all races have their share of retarded or witless programming so that card can be played both ways. I mean watch anything Latino during the day and you’ll be mesmerized by how bad acting can translate no matter what language is being spoken.

    And BTW this is not Tyler Perrys first serious role he was in a small bit of Star Trek if anyone remembers. I remember saying “is that tyler perry WTF? but he actually was not bad I must say. He just isn’t the action leading man yet, that kind of role comes from someone with a solid resume like denzel, don cheadle, Idris Elba, or Will Smith.

  23. I thought the movie was great.. action packed and well written. I didn’t read the book so I have nothing to compare it with but I really enjoyed the movie. I think tyler perry did very well in changing his role. It’s just very hard to get out of that cast type of Madea.

  24. I am a huge fan of the Alex Cross books. I was hugely disappointed when I read that Tyler Perry would play Alex. It just doesn’t fit. This was more of a Idris Elba role,,,or Morris Chestnut maybe even Boris Kodjoe role… Hell Will Smith, Denzel or any handsome retired NYC Detective couldve taken on this role better than Mister Perry…. While I am a fan of Perry’s work this just wasnt a good fit.. Perhaps some acting lessons would have helped… example.. In Alex’s office while analyzing the villian he just sucked really bad…he was staring in the air …didn’t look like he was putting two and two together… And oh boy,, the train/building explosion scene,,He was straight Madea…Do you understand the works that are coming out of my mouth..His voice was that of Madea’s..Come on folks I couldnt have been the only who heard this…or saw that he just wasn’t a good fit… thumbs down,,what a disappointment…

  25. oh man are people being generous with the ratings. i saw this turkey last week and i was howling at the screen. this is the worst movie of the decade by far; and i’m including those straight to DVD movies too. this is trash. a complete fail. this is like the biggest waste of 40 million dollars ever seen. A total disaster.

    this movie hits every bad note in the book. movie is ugly. the hero is too boring. killing a loved one off in a movie is never a good idea. the dialogue is so bad it’s as if it were written in the late 70’s and imported here. here’s a taste. “man alex cross you know everything. sometimes it’s hard being your friend…”

    tyler is a crap actor i’ll be honest and as much as i would have loved to have seen idris elba in the role, elba it seems dodged a bullet here. cause this movie is attrocious.

    and by the way along came a spider wasn’t a bad movie. and compared to this that movie is a classic.

    this movie…
    0 out of 4 stars

  26. Alex Cross was a very good thriller and suspense movie and is def up there with the top ten of the all time great sensations. All the actors did a wonderful job. And the villian was exceptional with a body that some ppl would die for. lt was an extra treat to see the mother of acting Ms Cicley Tyson still going strong and Mr. Reno of ‘The Professional’ even though it seemed he was mismatch for his role since after watching his performance in the professional who would want him harmed in any setting…l voted 3 stars and l thank all the ppl behind the scenes for a film, overal, well done. Peace! :)

  27. As a fan of the Alex Cross series, I have to admit disappointment in the movie. I really wanted to enjoy this movie, because I wanted Tyler Perry to move beyond his Medea character and grow as an actor. But, my primary problem with this movie is trying to make Alex Cross a popcorn action movie (fluffy, forgettable) instead of a smart thriller. I actually liked Morgan Freeman in both movies, although I would agree that Kiss the Girls is the better of the two. After watching Luther, Idris Elba would have made a believable Alex Cross.

    • Yeah he would’ve be good, but only with a better script and director.

  28. This movie was crap. The review NAILED it, spot on. Everything about it was not properly thought out. Everything.