Tyler Perry has always been known as the boisterous and comedic Madea in both his films and on television. Typically when Tyler Perry is involved in a project, you know exactly how it’s going to be, with the exception of his small role on Star Trek. Playing the titular character of Alex Cross, this is his biggest role as an actor when he isn’t involved in the production process. Question is, can he deliver or will he always be associated with his family comedies?
Based on the character created by James Patterson, Alex Cross has the homicide detective/psychologist on the hunt for one of the most dangerous criminal he’s encountered before. As he tracks the serial killer (Matthew Fox) and his next targets, the stakes soon become personal as Picasso, as he’s called, targets Cross’ family and coworkers.
Alex Cross is a brilliant detective who can only be described as a cross (no pun intended) between Dr. House and Sherlock Holmes. He always seems to know what the next step in a criminal’s plan is or even what other people are doing/thinking. Naturally, he tends to get under the skin of his fellow detectives and family. Still, he’s the best there is in the business and always gets the job done.
Perry gives a convincing performance of Cross and shows that he is more than capable of playing someone outside of drag. There’s this sort of fiery emotion that Perry brings to the role that really drives the film forward. As smart as he is, there’s clearly a vulnerable side to him that will be pushed to the limit. Matthew Fox, on the other hand, is completely opposite.
Picasso is a brutal and murderous psychopath who rivals Cross in almost every way and manages to always stay one step ahead of the detective. He’s an assassin with a specific mission and he won’t stop until it’s been accomplished. His masochistic attraction to pain also makes him nearly unstoppable.
Fox is nearly unrecognizable as Picasso and is a vast departure from his role on LOST that he’s most known for. While much of that is due to the fact that he lost so much weight for the role and is now purely muscle, his demeanor itself is frightening. He’s absolutely psychotic and quite fearful to look at. As well as Tyler Perry does on screen, Matthew Fox outdoes him in almost every aspect.
When the two aren’t together on screen playing their little game of cat and mouse, the film tends to drag on a bit. It takes time to build the momentum but it’s worth it in the end. Also, the camera during the action sequences features some of the worst shaking I’ve seen. Yes, even worse than the Bourne films.
In the end, Alex Cross manages to deliver excellent performances by both Perry and Fox that keeps the film in good shape. There are some camera issues and the story could have used a bit of work, but the performances alone make it worth seeing the film.