Alex Cross

Wow! Here's a shocker! A Tyler Perry film which he doesn't write, direct or produce. In this ultra violent, bloody PG-13 rated outing directed by Rob Cohen ("The Fast and the Furious"), Cross is a Detroit police detective hot on the heels of his arch nemesis, a highly skilled assassin who can penetrate the most secure locations and loves to inflict pain. It was immediately obvious to me that the screening audience was miles ahead of me on plot, characters, etc. Later I discovered why: Despite being a regular reader, I'm not a fan of the genre, so I have never read a James Patterson book, consequently I was NOT prepared for the violence, the brutality, or the torture. In fact, I spent a lot of time looking longingly for the EXIT sign.

Let's look at the cast:
  • Tyler Perry (the "Madea" franchise) is our title character, a happily married police detective with a wife, two children and a third one on the way. Would somebody please tell Mr. P. that his teeth have been whitened too much?
  • Edward Burns ("Man on a Ledge") is Tommy Cane, our hero's trusty sidekick.
  • Matthew Fox ("Lost") is Picasso, smart, lean, and very, very mean. Fox went on a strict diet and exercise regimen for this role.
  • Carmen Ejogo ("Away We Go") is our hero's lovely wife, not sure she wants him to take that promotion and move to D.C. She has her own career in Detroit.
  • Cicely Tyson ("The Help") is Nana Mama, always there to tend the children and dispense wisdom.
  • Jean Reno ("Margaret") is Leon Mercier, a financier who plans major developments to help restore Detroit to its former glory.
The film is shot in Detroit and I was fascinated by some of the sights. One of main scenes takes place in a parking garage located on the main floor of the huge, ornate, long-abandoned Michigan Theater. As the gun battle moves upstairs, we are first in the balcony, with a few dusty old seats still sitting there, then up on the catwalk, wondering who would fall to his death first.

It's interesting to notice what constitutes a PG-13 movie these days. I caught only a few swear words and there were scantily clad women but no nudity; on the other hand, we saw non-stop gunfights, torture, car chases, fisticuffs and blowie uppie stuff. I guess that's okay for the kids, huh?

According to James Patterson fans, this is a prequel to an Alex Cross series that takes place in Washington, D.C.; an earlier movie "Kiss The Girls" starred Morgan Freeman as Dr. Alex Cross. Based on the mixed reactions of the screening audience (some self-conscious snickers balanced by a spattering of applause at the end), I think they might hold out for Idris Elba next time....
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Here is a link to a preview:
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