Reel Talk: Alex Cross

I understand that for every Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis — basically the entire Expendables cast — there’s only been one Shaft or one Action Jackson. Sure Denzel and Sam L. Jackson have seen their share of combat (though Jackson rocking a Scottish kilt all but killed his action star credibility), but, ultimately, the black action hero has been mostly nonexistent in mainstream cinema (for the record, Mr. T was an action star on TV, not Hollywood cinema. Hence the name, Mr. “T”). Things are so bad that we’re forced to ask if Tyler Perry (TYLER PERRY) can fill the void left by Richard Roundtree and be this generation’s bad mutha!!! (Editors note: shut yo mouth! Over Madea’s living dead body!)

While Perry’s portrayal of the title character was moderatly likable, it’s obvious that his true calling lies in giving Mrs. Doubtfire a run for her money. The acting and dialogue were bad enough, but really it was the cliché script (and we’re talking E-list celebrity getting knocked up by Weezy levels of cliché’) that ultimately killed Alex Cross.

See, anytime you write a script where a cop has to unnecessarily say something along the lines of, “We’ve been friends since we were kids and now you want me to lie to him,” to explain the bond between the two main characters, you know you’re in trouble. Seriously, the only way this movie could’ve been more predictable was if Cross’s partner was murdered two days before retirement.

There's more, though. This is a film where Cross is at a – wait for it – crossroads in his life. Should he take the job the FBI is offering him and leave Detroit and make the move to Washington? Or should he make his pregnant wife happy and remain in the place where they’ve made a happy home? In the meantime, it’s on him and his partner Tommy (Edward Burns) to track down an ex-military/turned professional hit man named Picasso who is simply “infatuated with pain.” An infatuation that led to him torturing a target I would’ve made sweet love to, before cutting her fingers off, buying his way into an underground MMA fight and absolutely destroying the reigning champion. This might have been more credible had he not gotten more than a fair one from an out of shape Tyler Perry in the end.

Though Cross refers to this contract killer as “focused on the job,” Picasso inexplicably decides to stray from his objective to make Cross and his partner’s life a living nightmare. Why? For interfering with his work of course. Once they figure out whom Picasso is targeting (Jean Reno a.k.a. the dude from The Professional aka "fake Vlade Divac"), things get really interes…who am I kidding? The movie started falling apart as soon as Edward Burns said that “we’ve been friends since…” line.

A few bad dialogue exchanges, action sequences and an “I’ll meet him at the gates of hell before I let him harm another person I love” quote later, Alex Cross ended up being as lackluster as the Miami Marlins season. Well, maybe not that bad, but the entire story was the kind of mess that Ozzie Guillen couldn’t even manage to wrap his head around, and managing is what he does… or did rather.

It could’ve been more ridiculous, though. Tyler Perry could’ve made a movie where he was a detective in LA tracking down a 7-foot-tall, 300-pound extraterrestrial hunter who has an invincibility cloak and kills for sport, but miraculously kills him with his bare hands. Yeah, things could’ve been a lot more ridiculous. Well, then again..

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