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Customer Review

39 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Template Production, October 27, 2012
This review is from: Alex Cross [DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet] (DVD)
Straight up: Didn't think Tyler Perry could do drama. But then I thought about the old saying that the best comedians typically grow up enduring the worst kind of abuses, their humor an outgrowth reflection of pain. So I have respect for Perry crossing over to challenge a new stage, likely using that pain to help him become a more complex, non-comedic, character.

This prequel version of a younger Alex Cross gives us his story before joining the FBI. Already a brilliant investigator, he and his team of cops are suddenly thrust into a strange series of murders. Bad enough the bodies are piling up, but these are not your typical victims. Detroit's elite one-percenters are suddenly being hunted by an insidious killer; one who doesn't appreciate being interrupted or distracted from his mission.

Perry was not bad. Nothing quite like the original, but then who could be? Morgan Freeman is, cinematically speaking, a cultural icon exponentially cubed. Still, all things taken into consideration, his rebooted replacement was very decent. Thankfully, the producers didn't go for an MTV type of recast, hiring some slick songster wanting to break into films. For that alone I'm very grateful.

The choice of Matthew Fox was interesting. He's one of those performers that seemingly found his one role. Of course, actors who find that role often learn to detest it, treating it like an albatross hanging from the neck of one's career. Most end up forever boxed. But in this film I found his execution not shabby at all and better than expected; hinting that he has more to offer as a performer. One weakness: I realize that the character's speech impediment was foundational, but thought it limited the performance; if he was going for the Francis Dolarhyde model, then it should've been more pronounced.

Additionally, Picasso isn't a fully constructed character. We don't get to know the person other than the flimsy details as sketched out in the screenplay, making it that much more difficult to engage. Unfortunate. Felt the role was unfinished and could've easily taken on more weight. And speaking of which...

Absolutely loved that Matt bulked up for the film - he looked fantastic!

The direction was adequate for the subject matter, but lacked creativity. Example: When Alex deciphers the hidden clue to the assassin's next target, we don't get to share that "Ah ha!" moment because Director Rob Cohen failed to appreciate the scene as one of us, the audience. We didn't read the script, post storyboards, go thru rehearsal, film, then sit down at the post production edits - for us in the audience it was a new and fresh revelation - and he blew it. A missed opportunity.

Also, I don't appreciate shaky-cam slo-mo with high pass contrast in place of solid fight choreography. If Cohen wanted to showcase CQB skill - showcase the skill. Extraordinarily difficult to screen a battle if it's filmed like the cinematographer dropped acid before the scene commenced; thought we left this kind of cheesy effect back in the 80s.

Again, adequate direction with decent rhythm and solid pacing. And considering this was a Rob Cohen piece, I'm pleased it was adequate. The man is not known for quality.

Overall, decently entertaining with moments of interest and depth. Just wished it had not followed a pre-approved studio template.

Torn between grades. A strong three or a very low four.

Call it a three with hints of a four.

All things considered, and given the end of the film, I'm actually looking forward to another in the series - as long as the producers hire a more skilled director. The franchise and Alex Cross deserves it.
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