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Doug & the Movies: 'Alex Cross'

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SALT LAKE CITY — Here's the good news: Tyler Perry isn't wearing a dress in this movie. So, what's the bad news? Fans of James Patterson's famous character will be shaking their heads watching Perry step into the role of Alex Cross. Come on, after we've seen this done right with the likes of Morgan Freeman, we're supposed to buy this?

Here's the basic plot: Detective Alex Cross and his lifelong friend and partner, Tommy Kane (Edward Burns) hit the streets of Detroit to thwart a serial killer whose trail of dead bodies seems to be leading to the assassination of one of Motor City's leading citizens. Cross has the uncanny ability to get into the killer's head, enabling him to not only figure out motivation but see where the trail might lead. But this time, his gift fails him, and his latest nemesis exacts a terrible price from both Cross and Kane.

Mathew Fox stars as the killer the cops have come to call "Picasso" because of the charcoal sketches he leaves behind at the crime scenes. He's chilling and, in a sick and twisted way, the most fascinating and best-acted character in the film. Other major characters miss the mark or simply seem to be phoning it in.

Even the over-the-top action ... can't distract from the absurdity.

Jean Reno, who stars as our "leading citizen," is laughable, and if Rob Cohen directed this respectable star into this terrible performance, I think Reno could sue for talent abuse.

One scene is so bad that it would have ended up on the cutting room floor even in a World War II, "B" propaganda film.

Get this: Cross and company think they've figured out who "Picasso's" next target is -- a German businessman who is holed up in an office building with the security of Fort Knox. Werner Daehn plays this condescendingly nasty character who should have had the required scar on his cheek and, of course, swastika on his arm. Even the over-the-top action that follows can't distract from the absurdity.

Tyler Perry has a few respectable moments, but overall he leans melodramatic. Often it takes blazing guns and chases to rescue these "moments."

I won't even mention the final moments of "Alex Cross," where every longing for retribution is exacted on the ultimate evil-doer. Remember the terrible scene I mentioned above? Well, that looks like Academy Award material compared to what you'll endure here. Tyler Perry has a few respectable moments, but overall he leans melodramatic and far too often it takes blazing guns and chases to rescue these "moments."

The biggest challenge here is trying not to remember the Alex Cross delivered by Morgan Freeman. I'm giving this movie only 2 stars and it's rated PG-13.


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Doug Wright


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