Take him out of the dress, and the guy’s got nothing.
The year’s most ill-at-ease action hero, Tyler Perry momentarily pauses from his preposterously prolific and insanely lucrative Madea drag flicks to make a bid for dull, mainstream stardom with Alex Cross, an unasked-for reboot of the only slightly successful early-aughts Morgan Freeman franchise based on a metric shit-ton of books by James Patterson.
Cross is a brilliant detective. Not that we ever see him doing any actual detective work, but everybody else in the film helpfully talks about nothing else besides what a brilliant detective Alex Cross is. Perry, looking like a confused tree-trunk and lowering his voice to a murmur, stands around aimlessly at grisly crime scenes muttering vague hypotheses, while longtime partner Edward Burns slaps him on the back and drops anvils of exposition: “Hey—we grew up together, remember?”
Directed with staggering incompetence by Fast and the Furious and XXX auteur Rob Cohen, Alex Cross is at times breathtakingly nonsensical. There’s a shirtless psycho calling himself The Butcher Of Sligo (played by Matthew Fox, with 0-percent body fat) hired to assassinate a Detroit real estate developer (played by Jean Reno, with 100-percent body fat). Because this movie is stupid, the killer leaves clues for Cross in charcoal sketches, and eventually a whole lot of people are horribly mutilated while the camera awkwardly cuts away to preserve the PG-13 rating.
Keyed to roughly the same excitement level as Perry’s monotone, Alex Cross begins as the usual over-familiar mélange of forensic evidence and titillating torture porn that reminds me why I don’t watch network television procedurals. After a needlessly grim double murder in the second hour, it takes a turn for dopey vigilantism, leading the audience to wonder why one major character’s death is lavishly mourned while the other doesn’t even get a funeral and is never mentioned again.
Through it all, Fox’s bug-eyed crazy routine makes an inadvertently hilarious foil for Perry’s affectless somnambulism. What kind of movie hell is this where Edward Burns gives the least terrible performance?
"Twice Born" is one too many