Starring: Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox and Rachel Nichols
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hour 41 mins
Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
When you’re best known for playing a sassy black grandmother it takes a lot of guts to step into shoes formerly worn by Morgan Freeman. So right off the bat I have to give Tyler Perry a tip of the hat. And he more than earns it as he steps into the title role of “Alex Cross.”
Detective (and Dr.) Alex Cross and his team (Tommy (Edward Burns) and Monica (Nichols) have been called in to solve the torture/murder of a mysterious woman. Clues left behind point to a future victim, who is saved by the group but not before inflicting some whip-ass on the law. As a way of reassuring himself, and the team, Cross informs the others that, based on his information, there will be no retribution for their attempts at foiling the bad guy! Wrong, Alex. Shall we say…dead wrong?
Based on the character and popular novels created by James Patterson, “Alex Cross” is a familiar story for those who have read them. Here, instead of Washington D.C. the trio work for the Detroit police department. All have things going on in their lives. Tommy and Monica have been quietly dating for the past couple months, something that is obviously frowned on upon in the department. Alex has been offered a job with the FBI, but it means uprooting his family. So with all of this happening they are assigned the duty of protecting Leon Mercier (Jean Reno), a French businessman who may or may not be a target. Let the game of cat and mouse begin.
Before I go any further let me answer the big question – …Yes. Though he hasn’t yet attained the quiet gravitas that Morgan Freeman brings to almost every role, Perry is fine as Cross. Part Batman, part John McClane – Perry’s Cross does not have toned abs or a chiseled face, which makes him even more believable. On the other side, “Lost” star Matthew Fox is downright terrifying as a killer who believes in giving his clients their money worth. His eyes sunken and dark, Fox appears to have lost almost all of his body fat, making his frame long and sinewy. A role that could have been played so broadly is nailed perfectly. Director Cohen, who has helmed movies ranging from “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story” to the original “Fast and the Furious,” keeps the action moving and earns extra points for featuring a climactic scene inside an old and crumbling movie theatre. The story is pretty much by the book, with the good guy and bad guy matching wits as if playing a deadly chess game. Some of the plot points do tend to go astray but for the most part the story stays on point and makes you look forward to a second chapter.