Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Robot Ninjas vs Dragon Zombies: Season One, Episode 2: "Alex Cross"

So, ya...
This show's on Tuesday now.

"Don't Ever Cross Alex Cross"?

Tyler Perry: Action Hero?

      Okay, so people might remember that I have a... strong distaste for Tyler Perry. But, despite my own personal feelings of one of the worst filmmakers in history, the basic idea of Tyler Perry being an action hero in a role once done by Morgan Freeman is kinda hard to imagine and the reason I selected this film for DNvRZ. The strangeness of the casting is just one of the odd choice this film makes. Directed by Rob Cohen (The Fast and The Furious) and written by Marc Moss (Along Came the Spider) and Kerry Williamson, Alex Cross is based on the book Cross by James Patterson. It follows Alex Cross (Tyler Perry, Diary of a Mad Black Woman)  is a detective in Detroit who, along with his partners Thomas (Edward Burns, Friends With Kids) and Monica (Rachel Nichols, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) to go after the psychopathic serial killer The Butcher (Matthew Fox, Lost). When the case gets personal, Cross and his partners decide to go outside the law in order to stop The Butcher. 

The Morgan Freeman Legacy

      It's fairly clear what Alex Cross was trying to do. After the original actor for Cross, the much better Idris Elba, dropped out, Perry was brought in, in what was surely an attempt to use his fanbase to market the film. Coming off the two Morgan Freeman efforts, Kiss the Girls and Along Came the Spider, Alex Cross was hoping that the film would be a new franchise for Perry and a sequel was (And supposedly still is) in the works, before the film was even released. Then the film completely failed at the box office, grossing $25 million dollars in the US, off a $35 million budget. Cult classic, this is not destined to be either.

I wish I could care.
Detective Teddy Bear

      The real unfortunate thing here is that Perry was a potentially interesting choice. He certainly does fit the mold of the typically movie detective, especially when most black actors are told to be bad-ass. Perry might fit the literal build, however, he is actually pretty soft-spoken and he could have worked given a better film. That's the really disappointing thing about Perry. He's a good actor saddled with awful movies. Usually his own too. See, the fatal flaw with Alex Cross is that it was to be a needless action film, with a Batman-style villain and a big, bad-ass action hero. And in that role, Perry is about as convincing as a couch cushion. Perry is completely lost during the more action filled parts of the story, which unfortunately is everything after the studio logos. He look physically tired during action scene while his supporting cast blazes by him. He told to act intimidating, Perry simply cannot do it and is often leaving the audience wondering if Cross is really the super-cop he's hyped up to be.

The Bad Guy

      The film makes a mistake that even the worst network crime dramas can get right. You never actual feel like Cross is a good detective. Instead, Cross seems more like he got to his position through paying people off and less genuine detective work. Often, when Cross makes an observation about the crime, he never actually explains how he knows this. Note to crime writers: Not telling the audience clues is not a good way to make detectives seem impressive. In fact, the actual "mystery" of Alex Cross is so pathetically shallow, that it's no wonder the wanted this to be an action movie. A large part of this is do to Matthew Fox, who is utterly awful as the villain. Fox is all over the place, seeming like he's trying to impersonate a different, better movie villain in every scene he's in. The movie is relativity grounded, so when Fox walks onscreen as his cartoon character bad guy, it's almost laughably silly. He likes to do the weird head twitches, which makes me thinks he less acting and more that he really is insane. And not very good at it either.

He should get out more. Obviously.
The Cross Verdict

      Alex Cross is as bad as it gets. It's not one of the worst movies of last year, but it's not good at all. Unfortunately, it's not ever so bad it good, as many were hoping it'd be. Instead, what it is is a crime action film that has a lame mystery and awful action. Tyler Perry tries his best, but he is so ludicrously miscast in a role that wants an Idris Elba type. Matthew Fox is downright terrible as an over-the-top, all over the place villain with almost no interesting qualities. The mystery is shallow, almost like it was an excuse to get to the action, which is almost laughably limp. The tagline might say that you don't cross Alex Cross, but no one told Alex Cross that. Alex Cross gets 2 stars out of 6. 

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