For the first time Tyler Perry doesn’t produce, direct and/or write the screenplay though he should have. He is a ‘hired gun’ as the title player in the new movie “Alex Cross” possibly looking for a franchise to take it easy every 3 or 4 movies. Compared to other actions pictures is no better, no worse. Compared to other action actors Perry comes across as an able fighter and much smarter, though how he figures out so many things, in spite of a sharp scene with his wife, than most.
The major objection to this film, even from people not familiar with Tyler Perry’s pictures, is the violence. The screenwriters, Mark Moss and Kerry Williamson, plus the director, Rob Cohen, push the movie over the PG-13 rating though that’s what it gets. It starts with our villain in one of those no bars hold cage fights followed by a woman being murdered, having her fingers sliced off. Matthew Fox is Picasso, or the Butcher of Sligo, who gets off torturing people and our psychiatrist police detective sees right through and ahead of him. As the villain Fox is scary and physically impressive.
Cross’s partner and best friend since childhood, Thomas Kane, played by Edward Burns, is charismatic and more than believable. Maria Cross, Alex’s wife, played by Carmen Ejog, is a beauty and is responsible for the one touching scene in the movie as is Janelle, played by Yara Shahidi, as their daughter. Cicely Tyson, as Alex’s mother who lives with the family, would probably have had a better role and certainly better lines if Perry had written the screenplay. John C. McGinl, as the police chief, has one of the most ridiculous lines heard in a movie in a long time.
The biggest mistake the director and the director of photography, Ricardo Della Rosa, both must take the blame for is the climax is hard to see, let alone know who is doing what to whom and we are dealing with a Black man and White man in the scene.
Tyler Perry certainly doesn’t disgrace himself as the hero, psychiatrist and detective but the script does let him down. Maybe in the sequel, and there should be one if action and Tyler fans come out to support him in this first for his career, he will write the screenplay.