Alex Cross

So, yeah. Saw the movie, liked it okay... but I'm now having trouble writing about it, and that's usually a bad sign. I'm not an Alex Cross fan, not having read any of the books, which might be part of the problem, but since I've heard that actual Alex Cross fans weren't thrilled with the casting here, maybe that isn't a problem. Having never seen Tyler Perry before, I had no comparisons to make, unflattering or otherwise.

Anyway, Alex Cross is apparently a cross between Sherlock Holmes and the cast of every single CSI show. He also has a lovely wife (Carmen Ejogo, The Brave One) and two adorable children, though no dog, apparently. His partner and best friend Tommy, played by Edward Burns of Man on a Ledge, is constantly annoyed with him for constantly being right. They get called out to what's referred to as a "four roses" killing, a term no one ever explains, but which I'm guessing refers to the fact that it's a quadruple homicide. They really should have explained it, because at first I thought it was a reference to one of those weird little nicknames serial killers pick up. I was waiting for them to find carefully-placed flowers at the scene or something, but no luck there.

They do find, however, three dead bodyguards and a dead woman (Stephanie Jacobsen) who was gruesomely tortured to death. Maybe 'four roses' is actually code for 'get over here, and do not stop to eat on the way because you don't want a full stomach for this mess'. Two or three guys must have done all this, Tommy says, but Alex disagrees. This was done by just one scary individual.

That individual is played by Matthew Fox (Vantage Point), and when Tommy finds a cubism-inspired charcoal drawing at the scene, they christen the killer Picasso. Alex finds a ridiculously tiny clue that he should never have been able to find -- but, well, he's the hero so he needs to be able to do cool stuff like that, I guess -- and realizes who the killer will go after next, one Erich Nunemacher. Let's hope there's only one, anyway. He's played by Werner Daehn, who was in Valkyrie, which was that movie about the plot to kill Hitler. The only good part was that Tom Cruise didn't try to fake any kind of accent. The point is, he thinks everyone's hands are filthy and he's extremely rich and paranoid. Erich, I mean, not Tom Cruise... though that might be true of Tom Cruise, too, now that I think about it.

Picasso doesn't do so well with this killing, but he gets a good look at Alex and team, at which point Tommy worries that they might have made themselves targets. He thinks he's having a secret affair with fellow cop Monica (Rachel Nichols of Conan the Barbarian), but of course Alex knows all about it and wants it to stop. Alex also reassures Tommy that no, this killer is focused and will stay on target. Well, I guess even Alex Cross can't be right all the time.

They have a big fight in the Old Michigan Theater, which isn't a theater anymore. When it went out of business someone converted it into parking space -- which makes sense in downtown Detroit -- but left the decorated ceiling and much of the balcony seating intact, which doesn't make any sense anywhere. I hope that building isn't really as decrepit as the movie made it look.

Let's see. Rounding out the cast, we have Cicely Tyson of The Help as Alex's mother, Nana Mama, and Jean Reno of Armored as philanthropist Leon Mercier, who is even more extremely rich than Erich, though apparently less paranoid. And that's about it. Like I said, it wasn't a bad movie by any means, but it didn't inspire me, either. Three out of five seems too high, but two and three-quarters seems too low, and I hesitate to throw in any more fractions than that. I suspect it's about as good a watch as James Patterson's books are to read... which is either very good or very bad, depending on how much you like James Patterson.

Picasso with large gun.  He kind of looks like he's dancing, doesn't he?


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