Director Rob Cohen isn’t known for his subtlety. He loves flash, bang and testosterone. So he wasn’t the obvious choice to helm a project about an internal detective (Tyler Perry) having to adapt fast when he comes face to face with a very lethal hitman (Matthew Fox).
Cohen is best known for kick-starting the “Fast & the Furious” & “The Skulls” franchises as well as the Vin Diesel starrer, “XXX”. Cohen knows action but his films never scream slow burn or tension building. He delivers the shock before we have time to anticipate or even want it. CSI this isn’t and that is not a good thing.
This was the biggest reason why his version of James Patterson’s seminal detective, Alex Cross, is such an utter failure. He never wanted to make a mystery film or a thriller for that matter. He wanted an action film which is something that Alex Cross isn’t.
Alex Cross has had a hard time coming to the silver screen. Morgan Freeman’s first two films as the character were well received but never followed up on. “Kiss the Girls” was intense and a good introduction. “Along Came a Spider” wasn’t really a worthy follow-up but did show the potential for a film franchise. Freeman got too old and the studio was looking at a reboot. They hoped that film would be this one but really it is just a punch to the face to everything that came before including Patterson’s plethora of books on the subject.
I didn’t really mind Tyler Perry’s performance as this conflicted, forced into vengeance detective. Perry is an interesting actor when he’s serious. And I am curious to see more dramatic stuff from him. He wasn’t the problem.
Matthew Fox steals the show as the psychotic hitman. This is a major departure for the “Lost”/”Party of Five” alum if you didn’t believe that Fox has a toolbox things to pull from in his acting career this will prove it. He’s brilliant.
The problem is the tone, direction, writing and stupidity in is this film. And it is just really hard to know where to start. I’ll be waiting for the next Alex Cross reboot!
1.5 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer