Monday, March 24, 2014

Alex Cross (2012)

Franchises can be hard to reboot.  This is easily the case with Alex Cross, a reboot of the somewhat known Morgan Freeman franchise of 1997 and 2001.  It is based on a James Patterson series of novels about a detective named Alex Cross.  This time around, the role of Alex Cross was portrayed by Tyler Perry, under the direction of Rob Cohen.

Let us get down to what the movie is.  Alex Cross was promoted as Tyler Perry’s first foray into the action genre.  It seems sad to say that it was not all that successful.  Perry does not have the gravitas to pull off the physicality and emotion needed for the plot that unfolded.  It is a shame that he could not fill the role well enough, as the story could have been something special.  The search for a murderer leads to death within his personal relationships.  Putting some substance behind a performance could give it some levity that strengthens the audience connection to the lead character.  Instead, Perry gives a false sense of pain that leaves the audience watching the struggle instead of feeling it.  A movie is supposed to be watched, yes, but there also should be some sort of emotional connection.  This does not exist within Alex Cross.  This sense of disconnect is not lessened by the direction at all.

The direction of Alex Cross leaves the movie feeling like several different movies that were combined to try and make some sort of cohesive narrative.  The narrative makes sense.  I can give the movie that.  I know what is happening at all times, and the plot is easy to follow.  The issue from the direction is that it feels like there are several different tones to the movie.  Tyler Perry’s acting feels like it is more at place in a basic procedural.  Matthew Fox’s portrayal of The Butcher comes right out of an over-the-top hyper thriller movie.  The rest of the movie has the tone of a semi-gritty, reality based action-thriller.  These three different tones come together to make a movie that, as a whole, does not know what it is.  It is as if the director simply let everyone do whatever they wanted without any sense of how it would all fit together in the end.  It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of those who watch it.

There are things to be enjoyed throughout Alex Cross, however.  Matthew Fox, who is over-the-top as I already said, is really fun as the sadistic serial killer bad guy.  He may be too much for what the movie was going for, but the disjointedness of the movie shows how fun it could have been had it gone in that specific direction.   Ed Burns is also solid in Alex Cross, playing the same character that Ed Burns always plays.  The problem is once again in the tone, where the character sometimes fits and other times it does not.  Even with the tone, I struggle to say that the story itself is bad.  The story is a fairly entertaining, gripping tale of Alex Cross solving a murder only to have his world torn apart.  The story is there and it is full of potential but the lead performance and the tonal issues keep it from reaching that potential.

Potential can only go so far when it comes to movies.  Even with all of the potential in the world, a movie can be brought down by its weakest part.  Alex Cross was brought down from two overwhelming weak aspects which kept it from being the great film that it could have been.  I do not want to be one of the people who were disappointed in a movie because I think it could have been better than it was.  That implies that I know how to make a movie more competently than professional filmmakers.  I do not.  However, it is hard to avoid the fact that Alex Cross needed a different lead actor and a more talented director to bring the film above the mediocre product that it was.  Alex Cross is not a terrible movie, but it is nothing unique, special, or overly entertaining.  It is simply what it is: an empty shell pretending to be thrilling.

There are some notes that I would like to make:

  • This is the second movie covered in the Sunday "Bad" Movie posts that earned a Razzie nomination.  It was nominated for Worst Actor.
  • If you have any suggestions for bad movies, feel free to leave them in the comments or message me on Twitter.

No comments:

Post a Comment