Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tyler Perry 'Cross-es' The Line In New Action Film

In Alex Cross, his last film, Tyler Perry goes from funnyman in a dress to believable action star.  

Usually Perry, a bit of a control freak with his Tyler Perry brand, does everything from writing, directing, producing, hair and makeup and craft services (just kiddin).

However, this time he is strictly the star of the film. Perry is playing it straight and dramatic. He shakes off the popular Madea character that’s been his bread and butter. He’s now a leading man, playing homicide detective and psychologist, Alex Cross. The character has successfully been the centerpiece of James Patterson’s books. The role of Cross was previously played by Morgan Freeman.

Perry, who originally said ‘no’ to the role, said what made him say ‘yes’ was the arc of the character. He liked the fact that he’d be playing a family man, husband, partner, psychologist and detective.

To get in shape for the role, which required a lot of physicality like running jumping and fighting, he lost more than 30 pounds off of his 6’5” frame.

“Tyler is physically perfect,” says Patterson. “And he’s going to blow people’s minds how good he is in a dramatic role because people have seen him do comedy and a little bit of drama but nothing like this.”

Anyone expecting Perry to suddenly whip out a dress or let go some of Madea’s witty ‘isms’, won’t get to see her.

Perry does a reasonable job in a role that is out of his comfort zone.  It’s not a homerun, but it’s at least a standing double. In the film he shows a side that, heretofore, had not been seen by the entertainment mogul. 

In Alex Cross, which is based on the novel “Cross,” by Patterson, Perry is hunting a madman MMA-fighting serial killer played by Matthew Fox, who is almost unrecognizable as a ripped, assassin.  The two face off in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse. The story takes Alex Cross back to show the origins of the character as a Detroit police department detective. His lifelong friend Tommy Kane (Edward Burns) is also his partner and the two also work with detective Monica Ashe (Nichols) who gets caught up in the chase for the serial killer nicknamed Picasso (Fox).  Picasso is killing his way up the corporate ladder with the main man, Giles Mercier (Jean Reno), clearly in his sights as the ultimate target.

There are several twists and turns in this standard action thriller.

Matthew Fox is believable in the role of Picasso, although I would have liked to know more about what made him such a psychopath. Cicely Tyson, who plays Cross’ mother and Carmen Ejogo, who plays his wife, Maria, give solid performances as does Edward Burns and Giancarlo Esposito.

The Alex Cross film series started with the movie, Along Came A Spider and Kiss the Girls.

Alex Cross is a bit predictable, but it’s still entertaining. 

Alex Cross directed by Rob Cohen, stars Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, Edward Burns, Rachel Nichols, Cicely Tyson, Carmen Ejogo, Giancarlo Esposito, John C. McGinley and Jean Reno.

On the Donloe Scale D (don’t bother), O (oh, no) N (needs work), L (likeable), O (OK), E (excellent), Alex Cross gets an L-O (Likeable-OK)

Alex Cross (Summit) is Rated PG-13 for violence including disturbing images, sexual content, language, drug references and nudity. Running time: 102 minutes.

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