Wednesday, 5 December 2012

229, Alex Cross

Prepare yourself for a few of these over the coming months - Movies merely titled after the leading role which will see Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher in Jack Reacher (2012) & Chris Pine as Jack Ryan in Jack Ryan (2013) (All about Jack it seems) and if you think the name Alex Cross is somehow strangely familiar to you but you cant put your finger quite on it - let me enlighten you. 

Alex Cross is the Morgan Freeman character from Along Came A Spider (2001) & Kiss the Girls (1997).  "Oh Yeah!" I hear you all cry.  Well, As Ben Affleck played a young Harrison Ford in The Sum of all Fears (2002), its relative new comer to the big screen Tyler Perry who has the fortune of landing the starring role in this prequel that sees Dr Cross take his last case as a Detroit Cop and newly qualified profiler before taking the FBI job in Washington where the pre mentioned 1997 & 2001 movies take place with Freeman at the helm.

As with Along Came A Spider - we are almost instantly introduced to our bad guy - a twisted psychotic serial killer, dubbed Picasso and played by the almost unrecognisable Matthew Fox (Dr Jack Shepherd from Lost) in what can only be described as a weight loss programme rivalled only by Christian Bale's awesome portrayal as Dicky Eklund in The Fighter.  What gets played out is a dangerous Cat and Mouse game between the two which leads to a devastating climax mid movie and an ending that sets hearts a pounding.

Have I built it up enough?  Well, I hope so as this move is actually really quite impressive.  The supporting case of Cross's partner Tommy (Edward Burns) and the brilliant John C. McGinley as Chief of Police Brookwell are well cast as is one of my favourite Frenchmen (albeit a few pounds heavier than normal) Jean Reno.

The story is really quite simple - 'Cops chase Killer' but there are a few twists and turns along the way including a very daring assassination attempt outside a courthouse in full sight of the whole of Detroit which definitely takes some sincere planning. 

If I did have any low points it would be the actual casting of Perry that if anything (for me) lets the side down ever so slightly.  Maybe I was comparing him too much to the smoothness and elegance shown by the seasoned Freeman however if I was asked to cast a replacement I can only think of maybe one or two possibles including a younger Chris Rock or even Chris Tucker but their comedic edges may spoil the performance. 

Perry just seems too bulky for the role but that is again, basing him on a younger Morgan Freeman, not a younger Alex Cross and maybe that's the point - showing a tougher side to the FBI profiler, a darker more sincere role and if that was the case - then maybe Quinton Jackson (The A-Team) would have been a better fit and certainly one with more credentials.

With all that said - during this time of festive joy its good to throw a few thrillers in among the mix of Kiddie movies and Blockbusters coming our way - for me, it was a welcome break between the great Nativity 2 and the Rise of the Guardians which although will both be good - split up the cute factor somewhat.  Alex Cross is in the mix with Seven Psychopaths and and Jack Reacher as a few must see's before the Hobbit takes over our lives and before you know it you're into January, Oscars are presented and the whole thing starts again!