The "creative" mastermind of the Madea series is an unlikely and downright laughable choice to replace Morgan Freeman as author James Patterson's popular detective psychologist. It gets a bit unwieldy to say Detective Doctor Cross all the time, but realism isn't much of a concern for this script, nor is flow.
Perry is as unbelievable as a physical action presence as he is as a well-rounded human being, but that doesn't stop director Rob Cohen (xXx) from trying (and failing) to position the doughy, charmless leading man as both. There's also some level of confusion from the marketing team about just what Patterson novel Alex Cross is based on.
Plot blurbs have been borrowed from I, Alex Cross, but this movie has nothing to do with that story. Rather, it's the novel simply titled Cross that this bland and clumsy thriller is derived from. If the misdirection was purposeful, the effort was wasted: nobody cares.
In a transparent attempt to re-launch the franchise with an eye towards longevity, Cohen and culpable screenwriters Mark Moss and Kerry Williamson spin this loose adaptation into a prequel that bends the story into something unrecognizable from its source material. That indistinct something would be about as enjoyable as being stuck in traffic with a farting dog were it not for a hefty array of unintentional laughs.
As Cross tracks a deadly assassin, played by Matthew Fox (substituting random ticks and crazy eyes for characterization), his journey from rational professional to vindictive vigilante is packed with stock phrases and emotional responses so insipid they sound ripped from a Dummies guide to screenwriting, jumbled in a hat and drawn at random.
Combine that with hilariously heavy-handed cuts, implausible action scenes and directionless supporting performances and you have a piece of cinema so unaware of its pointlessness that it's almost worth watching for the sheer inept farce of it all.
Or, since this movie is about how people handle pain, you could stand in front of a mirror and punch yourself in the groin repeatedly. That's a cheaper way to laugh at an image of someone doing something this painfully senseless. (eOne)
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