Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Alex Cross
Tyler Perry has been a money making machine, but while he, or more accurately, Madea, has a dedicated following, he hasn't been able to generate a lot of crossover appeal. Alex Cross was his first attempt to truly get away from his iconic character. It didn't go so well. The film opened in fifth place and quickly disappeared from there. Is is as bad as its box office numbers would indicate? Or does Tyler Perry just need more time to distance himself from Madea before moviegoers who don't like that character are willing to accept him in a role like this?
We are introduced to Alex Cross mid-chase. He takes down the bad guy, with the help of his two partners, Thomas Kane and Monica Ashe. We then see him visit an inmate in prison, Pop Pop Jones, who took the fall for her uncle, so he wouldn't be stuck in jail for life. Then he goes home and helps his daughter play the piano and is able to deduce his wife is pregnant. He's a Renaissance man.
It is at this point we meet a man we later hear called Picasso. He shows up at an underground mixed martial arts fight, beats the crap out of his opponent, and breaks the guy's arm after the fight is officially over. Afterward, he seduces a woman in the crowd, Fan Yau Lee. She takes him to her massive home, along with her bodyguards, one of whom pats him down for weapons. However, he's hidden a couple weapons in his shoe, and after drugging the lady, kills her bodyguards and tortures her to death.
The next day, Alex and Thomas are called in to investigate. Despite the carnage, Alex is able to deduce this was one person. He figures he got at her laptop, but also realizes there's a safe and inside is a back-up hard drive. From the information on the hard drive, and a charcoal drawing Picasso left behind, Alex learns the next target: Erich Nunemacher, a very rich and powerful German businessman. Alex, Thomas, and Monica head to the corporate office where Erich is. At first neither the security nor Erich himself take the warning seriously, but it soon becomes clear that Picasso is in the building. The cops are able to stop the assassination, but Picasso gets away.
Picasso has quite a meltdown over this and vows to not only complete his assignment, but to get revenge on the cops that got in his way. How he goes about doing that is probably as close as you will get to an actual spoiler in the movie, so I'll stop the plot summary there.
There's a lot that went wrong with this movie, so much so that it is hard to know where to begin. Let's start with an unoriginal script. If you are a fan of police procedural TV shows, then there's nothing in this movie you haven't seen already. There's obviously more action and violence in the movie than you can get away with on TV, but plotwise, there's just cliché after cliché. This would be tolerable, I guess, but there are other problems. The characters are just not interesting, again because of the lack of originality, but also because of how thinly they are written. There is not a lot of emotional conflict here that isn't borrowed from a dozen different sources. Also, there's quite a bit of bad acting in the movie, much more than you would think given the fact that this is a studio picture. There is a lot of distractingly bad acting in smaller roles, but also I don't know what style of acting Matthew Fox is doing in this movie, but he's cringe-worthy. I can't even recommend the movie as mindless action, because it is too dull in that regard as well. It's not even so bad, it's good. It's just dull.
Extras include an audio commentary track, four deleted scenes, and a making of featurette. That's it. There are no additional extras on the Blu-ray.
The technical presentation is good, but not great. There's a healthy amount of grain in the picture, but for the most part there's plenty of details. The colors are solid, but this isn't a vivid movie in that regard. The black levels are deep, on the other hand. There are also no compression issues or major digital artifacts to detract from the look of the movie. The audio is better with clear dialogue, good separation up front and enough activity in the surround sound speakers to envelope the viewer. There is also an active bass, when needed.
The Blu-ray is 33% more than the DVD, which is acceptable, but not great.
There are simply too many other police procedurals that are better than Alex Cross to give it a recommendation. There's very little original in the script and the execution is weak. Finally, there are not enough extras on either the DVD or the Blu-ray to be worth the money, even if you like the movie.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2013-02-03