James Patterson's series of Alex Cross novels are immensely popular. Not only have the books sold millions of copies, but they have now spawned two different film series. First, we were treated to Morgan Freeman as something of an older version of Cross in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Now, we have been given the simply titled Alex Cross, with Tyler Perry playing the lead role. I am not a huge fan of the first two movies, but they are both head and shoulders better than this new incarnation.
Directed by Rob Cohen, Alex Cross is--and I'm not sure how else to say this so I'm going to go with the straightforward and simple approach--a disaster. Every actor in the film seems as though they have a different interpretation of what the film is supposed to be, which actually makes some sense because oftentimes scenes seem to follow one another with little to no regard to what came before and what's going to come next. It is impossible here to say that the fault ought to be laid squarely at the feet of the script (from Marc Moss and Kerry Williamson), the acting, or the direction, because all three leave something to be desired, although the acting really may be the worst part.
And here with the acting, as with the film itself, the problems are legion. Tyler Perry regularly appears as though he's ready to crack a joke, even when holding a dead body in his arms. It is as though he simply cannot keep a smile from his face. Ed Burns as Thomas Kane, Cross' partner, generally chooses a noir persona. He is good, but more than anyone else, Burns seems to be in a movie all his own. Can we fault him for offering up the best performance? Maybe it is wrong suggesting that he ought to play down to those around him, but maybe he, more than anyone else, didn't get that the film wasn't supposed to be so bad it's funny. Matthew Fox as our murderer, Picasso, appears to truly be in physical pain more than once. Fox appears to have worked out heavily for the role, and has body fat approaching zero percent, but rather than being able to offer that up as a part of his character, he chooses to go around and tilt his head at odd angles, almost smelling the air to see if he's burning dinner.