“Don’t Ever Cross Alex Cross” … seriously, don’t (3 out of 5 Stars)

Megan Kramer – 

We all knew the day when Tyler Perry’s break from his normal role as uplifting and comedic film director, writer and actor to a “harder” role as an action star was on the horizon. It officially arrived Oct. 19th, in Rob Cohen’s “Alex Cross.” Perry was cast as Dr. Alex Cross, a character believable from the first chase scene to about 10 minutes into the movie. The development of Cross is scattered, while all other characters are left simply unknown.

“Alex Cross” was based on the book series by James Patterson. This crime drama tells a story about a family man who loses part of his family and seeks revenge. He is given a very able opponent, an assassin played by Matthew Fox, but must find a way to destroy him and foil deeper-rooted plans at seemingly any cost.

Cross is a police detective and skilled profiler. Alongside him are fellow officers Tommy Kane (Edward Burns), Cross’s best friend from childhood, and Monica Ashe (Rachel Nichols), new to the squad and love interest for Kane. Perry has a happy family consisting of wife Maria (Carmen Ejogo), two children and the elderly, yet spritely, Nana Mama (Cicely Tyson). The mood of the film darkens, however, when Fox’s character comes into play. Fox is a skilled fighter and assassin, with an inclination for fits of rage and an unforgiving disposition.

The development of Cross is scattered, giving the audience pieces that do not fit together into a believable picture. For him to be both a devoted family man and police detective would require more than 24 hours in a day, since he also spends time trying to help a struggling youth and, apparently, analyzing every second of every day. Cross is, in a way, too well rounded. Furthermore, Cross goes through a “Punisher” -like transformation that is far from convincing. Loving family man and respected detective turned rogue, vengeful for justice, does not play out well in light of the fact that he did not lose everything he loved beforehand.  If Cohen hadn’t spent so much time revealing Cross’ soft side, the transformation might have been a bit more believable.

As for the rest of the character development, Matthew Fox’s character is never mentioned by name in the film and is simply referred to as “Picasso” in the credits. While this keeps his character mysterious, viewers were given almost no reason for his disturbed psyche or any details of his past, which made him seem under-developed. It is a disappointing revelation, because Fox’s portrayal of the curt, villainous Picasso is chilling in the greatest way. Not to mention the character development of the rest of the cast was left a bit lacking as well.

The character Alex Cross has been portrayed in other films in the past, but this rendition was the first for Tyler Perry. While it made sense to transition Perry from comedy to drama by keeping the family aspect alive, the film was not successful in making this Alex Cross believable as a whole, especially if you have not seen the past films or made the connection between the series.  There is also little character development for anyone else throughout the 101 minutes, so save your time by following the film’s own advice and “don’t ever cross Alex Cross.”

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