"Alex Cross," the latest attempt to turn one of James Patterson's crime novels into a movie, should have been Tyler Perry's opportunity to establish a film franchise where he didn't have to wear a dress. But the attempt falls short because of an uneven script and sloppy pacing. If this is the best Perry can do, then he'd better stick to the pantyhose.
The film follows a group of Detroit detectives as they try to stop a masterful assassin looking to kill the top dogs in a firm trying to revitalize the city. They have to do their job while dealing with a boss who thinks more about politics than police work.
It's a familiar story that needed clever writing and crisp acting to have any chance of working. It has neither.
There's nothing original in Perry's portrayal of the Detroit cop. Instead of playing off his incredible deductive reasoning, Perry's Cross spends most of his time chasing or beating bad guys. Even the final battle between Cross and the hired assassin -- known as Picasso -- is a fistfight. This showdown deserved a far smarter conclusion.
The screenplay by Marc Moss and Kerry Williamson is a series of contradictions. They have the detective played by Edwards Burns get emotionally involved with someone but (spoiler alert) when she's brutally murdered, he acts more like a guy upset about spilling his coffee.