For fans of Tyler Perry’s hilarious films, you may not be disappointed with Alex Cross—something that I cannot say for myself. In no way shape or form are the Cross novels by author James Patterson humorous. Yet, the latest film adaptation in the series has far too much misplaced banter between the characters.
There is certainly nothing funny about a bowl of fingers that has been cut from the hands of an innocent victim, but Perry makes the scene uncomfortable for the audience with his trademark inappropriate lines. Aside from unnecessary humor, there is a horrible lack of continuity after the previous two installments in the series. Morgan Freeman portrays the title character as being quite obviously more mature and experienced, not to mention physically older, so fans of both the books and films naturally expect this to serve as a prequel. Well, that notion is shot to hell the minute a MacBook and picture phone surface. The technological anachronism throws an awkward and confusing wrench in the timeline of the story and ultimately renders the word “series” useless in terms of the Cross films.
This is in no way a prequel, and if it is indeed a reboot of sorts—my condolences to Mr. Patterson. The only saving grace the film provides is seen in Matthew Fox’s portrayal of the antagonist, the Butcher. His psychotic twitchy motions complement the sense of professionalism in choice of attires as well as in torturing his victims. He offers quite the disturbing illustration of a madman pushed too far, while Perry offers nothing more than a trite performance of a rogue and reckless cop who, throughout the entire film, continues to make frustratingly illogical decisions.
Idris Elba, the actor previously slated to portray the character, dodged a major bullet in not being able to participate in the film. For fans of the book series, the film might come as a catastrophic disappointment, and for fans of the previous films the same might hold true. The element of suspense is overshadowed by flashy effects and unrealistic stunts and the acting is subpar.
Whoever gave the green light for this project ought to be embarrassed by the final product and should consider seeking assistance the next time a script for a beloved and acclaimed series lands on his or her desk, because if a Hollywood flop was on the bucket list then, by all means, Cross it off. If thoughtless humor and trite visual effects are what you’re after this fall, then feel free to sit back and be half-entertained, but if you’re hoping for the psychological suspense that I, and so many others, were eagerly awaiting then consider heading over a few theaters to one of this season’s mindless slasher films instead.