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"Alex Cross" Review

Alex Cross is like Big Momma's House in reverse in that instead of Martin Lawrence as a cop who dresses up like a lady, Tyler Perry ditches his Madea drag to play ace Detroit police detective Alex Cross, a role previously assayed by Morgan Freeman in Along Came A Spider and March of the Peng...oh wait, no, that should be Kiss The Girls.

When Madea Cross and partner Ed Burns are called to a murder scene where four people were killed (including a beautiful woman tortured to death), they find themselves on the trial of psychopathic hitman Matthew Fox. When they interfere with one of his hits, he turns his sights on the cops and their loved ones. Brutal hijinks ensue.

Alex Cross is a taut and efficient thriller which moves so quickly to its conclusion that it feels like it's half its length. In fact, if it wasn't for a ridiculous and in one aspect confusing subplot involving a woman who took a fall for a crime boss's murders, it'd be even shorter. (Though it could've been entirely lopped out without breaking the plot in the least.) It's also fairly predictable to the point that when characters are introduced, my girlfriend would remark, "They're gonna die, aren't they?" (Yes, dear, they are.)

Shot for the most part in Detroit, they get most of the local geography correct except that the crime scene on tony Lakeshore Drive is about five miles outside of their jurisdiction in the Grosse Pointes and a couple of skyline shots reveal the unfamiliar downtown locations are actually Cleveland, but this is stuff only natives would catch.

Perry is fairly believable as Cross though he could've stood for some more grit in the more dramatic moments. Ed Burns is the same as always but the shocker is Fox as the psycho killer Picasso; he is prison-ripped, pumped up and cut down into little more than muscles and sinews, absolutely unhinged and deadly. We never really get an explanation as to what his deal is beyond he's a Very Bad Man (no backstory about how he was a bottle baby or anything), but he makes his mark.

Score: 6/10. Catch it on cable.


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