Alex Cross Blu-ray Review
Reboots of characters and series have been the rage in Hollywood over the past decade or so. Batman may have been the most successful instance of this fad. The Jack Ryan character will soon be played by its fourth actor. Director Rob Cohen wanted someone more physical to take over for the analytical detective Alex Cross. Fans of the James Patterson creation weren’t all that pleased with the previous casting of Morgan Freeman for the role. Freeman definitely got the analytical part down pat, but failed miserably when tackling the physical aspect of the role. So Cohen turned to Tyler Perry to correct this error in the past. That seemed to be an odd choice since Perry is best known dressing up as a woman as Madea. Perry though does fine as Cross. It’s the screenplay that is the big letdown in ALEX CROSS.
Cohen establishes right away that Cross means business. He is seen chasing a bad guy through an abandoned building. It is almost like Cohen is speaking directly to fans of the books and saying that he has listened to their concerns. Cross gets his man, but there is trouble on the horizon. Cross has issues to deal with regarding his partner and his home life. His partner Tommy (Edward Burns) is having an affair with Monica (Rachel Nichols), another member on the team. Cross is concerned that will cause trouble out in the field. At home Cross’s wife Maria (Carmen Ejogo) is pregnant with their third child. The detective has a job offer to become a FBI profiler, but that means moving to DC and uprooting the family from Detroit. So you can see there is a lot on his plate. However his mind is still sharp. He can tell where you have been, what you ate for lunch and other minute details just by observation and smell. Nothing gets past him and he naturally knows that Tommy is messing around with Monica.
A particular nasty case gets thrown at them. A woman was paralyzed with a drug and tortured to death. It is the work of Picasso (a tattooed and majorly slimmed down Matthew Fox). Picasso is working for an unknown party and takes particular pleasure in dealing out pain. This is a change up for Fox as he usually has played the good guy in roles in Lost and Party of Five. Fox does well with what he is given. He snarls and prowls with the best of them. Cohen though goes overboard with the effects he employs. At various points he shakes and blurs the camera to show that Picasso isn’t in his right mind. This really isn’t needed since you can tell this just by what he does with his victims.
Cross and his team soon realize that the eventual target is billionaire Leon Mercier (Jean Reno). Picasso is working his way up to him. They stop Picasso from carrying out one of his tasks. This is where the film goes way off track. The brilliant Cross knows how the mind operates and can foresee things before they happen. He mistakenly thinks that Picasso doesn’t present the team with any type of danger with deadly consequences. It doesn’t add up at all to make Cross so smart and so dumb at the same time. You just don’t buy that he will make this type of mistake. This is a death blow that ALEX CROSS never recovers from. After this, it is a standard cat and mouse game between Cross and Picasso. There are conversations that they have over the phone that are supposed to be tense, but instead fall flat.
I can’t fault Perry at all. He does bring a physical element that was lacking in the Freeman installments. The screenplay though is just so maddening. There is no momentum that gets established as the story goes along. Why exactly is Picasso doing what he is doing and should we care? In the end you will not and that is a big problem.
Video: It’s a striking movie to look at. The shading is done well and there are no scenes where you can’t see what is occurring. That is all I ask for.
Audio: I had real problems with the sound. I had to turn it way up just to hear the dialogue. That is annoying to say the least.
Audio Commentary with Director Rob Cohen: Straight forward commentary from Cohen. He shared the process of him getting involved with the project and the importance of casting. He was never afraid of casing Perry in the lead role. Cohen also pointed out that Fox did a lot of his own stunts including the mixed martial arts scene. You could tell that Cohen had a real affection for the city of Detroit and wanted to present it in the best light possible.
The Psychologist and the Butcher: Adapting & Filming Alex Cross (14:07): Author James Patterson states for a fact that Perry is much closer to Cross on the page than Morgan Freeman ever was. Cohen also points this out. Both men discuss the character. Patterson shares the inspiration behind him. Actors Perry and Burns also chime in about the project. They mostly talk about the Cross character.
Deleted Scenes: 4 in all. None of them were missed. The first gives extra screen time for Cross’s son Damon. The second has Cross talking about clues and who the killer might be. The third shows Mercier paying his respect to Cross at his wife’s funeral. The fourth is Cross trying to get help from a girl who is in prison for a crime she didn’t commit.