“Alex Cross” tried to accomplish several goals:
Help actor Tyler Perry cross over to lead roles in major studio projects from his successful chain of family-oriented comedies, romances and dramas all self-produced at his Atlanta studios.
Give film audiences a back story of author James Patterson's most famous fictional FBI profiler Cross, played in “Kiss the Girls” and “Along Came a Spider” by Morgan Freeman.
Put together a stellar cast for a top-notch action thriller.
The movie was about 50 percent successful.
Perry plays Cross as a Detroit police detective with his partner and lifelong friend Tommy Kane (Edward Burns). He is happily married, living with his mother Nana Mama (Cicely Tyson), his wife, Maria (Carmen Ejogo), and their son and daughter.
Cross is being wooed by the FBI to come work for them as a profiler in Washington, D.C., but he has not made up his mind.
When the body of a tortured woman is found, Cross feels they may have not only a serial killer on the loose, but one with a list of specific victims.
After a clue to the next victim is discovered, Cross, Kane and fellow detective Monica Ashe (Rachel Nichols) visit an investment firm and get their first glimpse of the killer they call Picasso (Matthew Fox) and manage to thwart his plan.
Cross is confident in is ability to predict what criminals will do next.
His meeting with the man he believes is Picasso's ultimate target, Giles Mercier (Jean Reno) does little to advance the plot and is disjointed.
Cross' idea is tragically wrong and causes him to break character entirely to take justice into his own hands to stop Picasso.
The first half of the movie succeeds totally as a taut thriller. It unravels suddenly, leaving a hot mess of questions, plot problems and an unsatisfying and odd ending.
Perry begins as a strong, charming and believable Cross, but after the character's miscalculation, his actions are mechanical and shallow.
Fox's villain is wonderfully vicious with his first few victims. He is meticulous, his plans diabolical. Suddenly, all his fastidiousness goes out the window and he turns into a plain street thug.
Burns manages to escape most problems, sticking with his snarky line delivery and a one-dimensional character.
Also disappointing was the main fight scene between Cross and Picasso. The use of a hand-held camera made the action hard to follow and the sudden switch to a steadicam was jarring, though the fight became much easier to watch.
The only successes were the sets. They were a good mix of a rundown-Rust Belt town and the new, sleekly modern Detroit.
I wanted to like this movie, but I cannot. Sorry, Tyler Perry, either someone needs to give you another chance, or you need to stay in Atlanta.
— Sandi Davis
Starring: Tyler Perry, Edward Burns, Matthew Fox, Rachel Nichols, Cicely Tyson, Jean Reno. (Violence including disturbing images, sexual content, language, drug references, and nudity.)