Tyler Perry is certainly no Morgan Freeman.
That’s the lasting impression you’ll get from the woeful “Alex Cross,” the latest big-screen adaptation of James Patterson’s best-selling mystery series.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Morgan Freeman starred as the brilliant detective/psychologist in “Kiss the Girls” and “Along Came a Spider.” While those films suffered from stories with gaping plot holes, the movies benefited from Freeman’s wry and world-weary performance as the investigator who uses his brains rather than his brawn.
In contrast to Freeman, Perry is just flat as the younger version of Cross in the prequel to the first two films. The star and director of the popular “Medea” films just isn’t a powerful enough screen presence to carry the movie. It’s a curiously low-key performance — so low-key that at times Perry comes off as practically somnolent in the role. And when you consider that “Alex Cross” has all of the same plot problems of the first two movies, the result is a film that fails to work on every level.
In contrast to Perry’s sleepy performance, Matthew Fox (best known as the heroic Jack in TV’s “Lost”) goes way over the top as a sadistic killer. His performance sometimes borders on the laughable as he twitches and sneers through the role. The line between being creepy or just silly is thin — and with his performance here, Fox definitely finds himself in silly territory. (Though a sequence in which he gleefully snips off the fingers of an unfortunate woman is disturbing.)
Among the other supporting performances, Cicely Tyson makes a good impression as Cross’ tough mother and Giancarlo Esposito…
Read more: James Ward, Visalia Times