<em>Alex Cross</em>

Alex Cross

Alex Cross

Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, and Edward Burns star in a film written by Marc Moss and Kerry Williamson, based on the book by James Patterson, and directed by Rob Cohen.

While it periodically succeeds in activating our adrenaline glands and taste for exciting foul play (and resolution), things keep going awry and amiss in Alex Cross, and we yearn to figure out why. Based loosely on the series of books by James Patterson, this cop-and-quarry, cat-and-mouse tale of a Detroit police officer (Tyler Perry) and a sociopath killer for hire “with a narrow focus” (Matthew Fox) makes for a tangled plot where twists grow increasingly personal and labyrinthine. Lean, mean, and taking no prisoners, this assassin — named Picasso — delights in creative solutions to problems of executing his work tasks. When the going gets especially personal, involving our hero’s family, strictly legal means yield to a more semi-vigilante fervor.

The director-centric filmgoer within recognizes a certain pattern in the work of Rob Cohen, the man behind the B-movie-like thrill ride The Fast and the Furious. As in that franchise, Cohen works best when dealing with the dynamics of action cinema, of zooming around a city and following the trail of evil deeds unfolding at a nervous pace. But he stumbles in the areas of empathetic human emotions and coaxing good performances from actors of limited chops — the wonderfully wooden Paul Walker in the Fast films and Perry here.

In part, Perry is up against an unfair comparative competition in the role. Unlike Morgan Freeman, who played Cross in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider, Perry hasn’t the veracity or killer instinct to give much substance to the character. It also doesn’t help that his cop sidekick, nicely played by Edward Burns, seems to make Perry pale by association.

Quibbles aside, once settled into the sensory roller-coaster ride of Cohen’s action-genre engineering, leaving matters of film aesthetics behind, Alex Cross is at its humble, genre-flicky finest. It’s fast; it’s furious; it’s a knotty tale of evil in need of a hero to bring on the peace. At least until the sequel.

For showtimes, check the Independent's movie listings, here.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:
This Week's Issue

Carousel House Now for Rent

The iconic octagon is available for parties and classes.

‘Fess Parker’ Name Dropped from Santa Barbara Waterfront Hotel

Change to Hilton Santa Barbara said to help the hotel reach a broader demographic.

Nicholas Kristof Hashes Out How To Help

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author joined local nonprofits to talk global development.

Pile Burn Season Raises Alarms

Uptick in citizen emergency calls upon viewing smoke and fire.

Jon Peterson Departs Habitat for Humanity

Takes a post with Covenant Trust Company of Chicago.