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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Even Tyler Perry can’t save ‘Alex Cross’

Edward Burns and Tyler Perry as Tommy Kane and Alex Cross in the action thriller ‘Alex Cross.’ Perry steps away from the camera in the film.
Courtesy of Summit Entertainment
Edward Burns and Tyler Perry as Tommy Kane and Alex Cross in the action thriller ‘Alex Cross.’ Perry steps away from the camera in the film.

Edward Burns and Tyler Perry as Tommy Kane and Alex Cross in the action thriller ‘Alex Cross.’ Perry steps away from the camera in the film. (Courtesy of Summit Entertainment)

Tyler Perry has worn a lot of hats around Hollywood. He’s worked as a producer, actor, director, helmed his own studio and even cross-dressed. However, in the new action thriller Alex Cross, Perry takes an artistic leap and tries to play the title role of a tough talking, no-nonsense Detroit detective.

Despite a career that will be most memorable, Perry’s Alex Cross is a movie we’ll all want to forget.

Alex Cross draws its lead character from the popular, best-selling books of James Patterson. Patterson’s Cross series is known for its engrossing stories, cliffhanger endings and, of course, its action. Essentially Alex Cross the book series is everything Alex Cross the movie is not.

Marc Moss and Kerry Williamson, the film’s writers, use Patterson’s character as the riving inspiration for their lifeless, clichéd story. Moss and Williamson are both newcomers to the screenwriting scene, but from the looks of Alex Cross, it looks as if their writer careers will be short-lived.

The film opens during a dizzying police chase that involves Cross and company sprinting around an abandoned warehouse in pursuit of a criminal. Cohen uses this scene to introduce the audience to the film’s supporting cast, which includes Cross’ longtime friend and partner Detective Tommy Kane and Kane’s love interest and coworker Monica Ashe. Kane and Ashe are in a supposedly secret relationship that Cross immediately exposes using his obvious detective skills.

While the streets of Detroit have Cross and his team more than busy with homicides and murders, their jobs become a lot more challenging upon the arrival of Picasso, a serial killer with purpose.

Matthew Fox plays the part of Picasso. Fox, a mainstay on television from such shows as Lost and Thirty Something, is barely recognizable as the skinny, sadistic killer. If there is one bright spot in the entirety of Alex Cross, it is certainly Fox’s Picasso.

As soon as Picasso starts his scheme to murder one of Detroit’s wealthiest businessmen, Cross’ life is turned upside down. Picasso is a killer, obsessed with pain, who ultimately takes more from Cross than previously imagined.

The real downfall of Alex Cross is the seemingly unlimited potential the movie possessed prior to release. With both Patterson’s work and Perry’s fan base, Alex Cross, if made with an ounce of decency, could have been one of the year’s best movies. Instead, Cross is the year’s shining example of just how important good film direction can be.

Cohen’s poor direction is most recognizable during the film’s dénouement. In it, Cross finally confronts Picasso in hand-to-hand combat that is so poorly choreographed it mirrors that of 1990s Power Rangers episodes. On top of the poor fighting, Cohen tried to dilute the scene with shaky camera work that is as much of nuisance as it is nauseating.

Ultimately, Perry isn’t to blame for Alex Cross‘ woes. The multi talented star is formidable candidate for the Detroit detective.

Perhaps Perry can use his newly learned detective skills to solve the question of “Who killed this movie?”

My money’s on Cohen.  

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