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Alex Cross review

Just as George Wendt is Norm, now and forever, just as James Gandolfini remains a Soprano, years past his expiration date, so will Tyler Perry continue to be Madea (in the US at least), the excitable drag-granny that has made Perry one of the most successful actor/directors.

You can certainly see why he’d want to slip on some pants once in awhile, and given his box-office heft, you can also see why Hollywood would give a Perry-led thriller the green light. But Alex Cross ?

The homicide detective previously essayed by Morgan Freeman in icy-veined chillers Kiss The Girls (1997) and Along Came A Spider (2001)? From the outset, it seems like a casting session on acid.

After watching it, it feels more like someone lost a bet. In this prequel-y reboot (based like the Freeman films on a novel by James Patterson), Cross is a Detroit detective on the hunt for a psycho serial torturer/murderer named Picasso ( Lost ’s Matthew Fox), who leaves Cubist charcoal drawings behind to confound the police.

Things get personal when Picasso starts targeting Cross’ family.

Together with his crime-busting buddy Tommy Kane (Ed Burns), our too-tall detective hunts down his prey through the bleak wasteland of Motor City, quipping, grunting, and smashing into walls and doorframes as he goes.

Director Rob Cohen is known for mindless mayhem - xXx , The Fast And The Furious and The Mummy 3 - so it is entirely possible that Alex Cross was also his chance to spread his cinematic wings and tackle something more cerebral.

That did not happen. Alex Cross is mostly chaos and disorder, and definitely not of the thinking-man’s variety.

The problem here is that everyone involved is so unable to rise above each other’s mediocrities that we are left with an expensive mush that’s no better than any police procedural on TV.

Tyler, put the dress back on. It’s a much better fit.

Miscast and underwritten, Alex Cross does not reinvent Tyler Perry, or James Patterson’s character, or anything, really. The only appeal here is the sick kick of watching a franchise blow itself to bloody stumps.

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