Movie Review: Alex Cross

So I suppose I should preface this by saying that I have not read the book Cross by James Patterson (the book from which this movie is based).  I have, however, read several of James Patterson’s other books. 

Here is the synopsis of the movie from Rotten Tomatoes: Alex Cross follows the young homicide detective/psychologist (Tyler Perry), from the worldwide best-selling novels by James Patterson, as he meets his match in a serial killer (Matthew Fox). The two face off in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse, but when the mission gets personal, Cross is pushed to the edge of his moral and psychological limits in this taut and exciting action thriller.

Here is the synopsis of the book (Cross) from Barnes & Noble: Alex Cross was a rising star in the Washington, DC, Police Department when an unknown shooter gunned down his wife, Maria, in front of him. The killer was never found, and the case turned cold, filed among the unsolved drive-bys in D.C.’s rough neighborhoods. Years later, still haunted by his wife’s death, Cross is making a bold move in his life. Now a free agent from the police and the FBI, he’s set up practice as a psychologist once again. His life with Nana Mama, Damon, Jannie, and little Alex is finally getting in order. He even has a chance at a new love. Then Cross’s former partner, John Sampson, calls in a favor. He is tracking a serial rapist in Georgetown, one whose brutal modus operandi recalls a case Sampson and Cross worked together years earlier. When the case reveals a connection to Maria’s death, Cross latches on for the most urgent and terrifying ride of his life.

So not to give anything away that you either haven’t already figured out from the synopses above and/or from any trailers you’ve seen on tv but the long and short of it is this – in the movie, Alex’s wife Maria is killed by a crazy man and he, in turn, goes a wee bit crazy himself and goes after the killer.  That’s the basics. 

The one and only good thing I can say about this movie is that Matthew Fox was incredible.  He absolutely honed in on the ‘crazy vibe’ that he needed in order to accurately portray this character.  He gets two giant thumbs up in my book. 

I cannot say the same for Tyler Perry and to be honest, I was skeptical from the beginning.  I didn’t really think that he would be able to make a seamless transition from playing characters such as Madea into the highly educated ‘high thinker’ that is Alex Cross.  And… he doesn’t.  He just cannot channel the necessary qualities to be a believable Alex Cross. 

There have been two previous movies based on James Patterson books: Along Came A Spider and Kiss The Girls.  In both of these movies, Morgan Freeman played Alex Cross.  Freeman was a much better choice from a psychological standpoint however if you have actually read any of Patterson’s books you know that Cross is a physically imposing man generally in his 30s or 40s (depending on the book).  Freeman is hardly physically imposing nor is he the “correct” age.  Perhaps Denzel Washington would have been a better choice?  He’s relatively the right age and a bit smaller than Cross is portrayed to be in the book but if he buffed up a bit then it’d definitely be believable.  Plus, he has several action/dramas under his belt so at least he’d be relatively familiar with the character (The Book of Eli, Déjà Vu, Man on Fire, and The Bone Collector to name a few).  A coworker who has much more knowledge regarding African American male actors who might fit the bill suggested Michael Jai White.  The point being, Perry was an unfortunate choice for this movie. 

All in all – had Cross been played by a more worthy actor and had the screenplay been closer to the book then perhaps this would have lived up to it’s potential.  In reality, it falls miles short. 

Have you seen this movie?  Did you like it?  Have you seen any of the other James Patterson movies?