Skip to main content

Alex Cross: Movie Review

Chris Carpenter


Share This article

At first glance, it seems that Tyler Perry’s first foray in a movie that he hasn’t written or created the character is a good one.  While the Madea movies have made Perry a household name the opportunity to play a starkly contrasting role in Alex Cross seems like a solid career move.  Sadly, his portrayal of novelist James Patterson’s cerebral detective onscreen is a major misstep in an otherwise burgeoning film career.  This is exacerbated by the fact he is trying to assume a role previously played by a much older and polished Morgan Freeman in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider.

Loosely based on Patterson’s twelfth novel in the Alex Cross series, “Cross”, Perry plays the highly-educated forensic psychologist who has an intuitive sense in solving crimes.  Unlike the aforementioned Cross movies, Alex Cross takes us back to the days before Washington, D.C. and the FBI.  This time, he is a cop on the Detroit police force.


Alex Cross is a poorly executed psychological killer movie that pits the good guys Cross (Perry) and fellow detective Tommy Kane (Edward Burns, Saving Private Ryan) against a twisted serial killer called Picasso (Matthew Fox, Lost) who delights in watching his victims suffer from his torturous acts.  In fact, at one point in the movie Picasso quips, “Inflicting pain is a crucial part of my true calling.”

Picasso is but a hired assassin in a much more complex crime scheme masterminded by French financier Giles Mercier (Jean Reno, The Da Vinci Code).  But the focus is clearly on Picasso, who in addition to spending his down time boxing in illegal fight clubs, leaves charcoal sketches beside those he tortures and ultimately kills.  It doesn’t take long for the uber-intelligent Cross to ferret out a set of clues from one of these sketches that eventually leads him to the deranged professional killer.  A chase ensues, many people die, and half a city block gets blown up in the process.


Despite his best effort, Perry is just not the right person for the Alex Cross role.  A burly 6'5", Perry is physically stiff, sometimes wooden as he clumps around in pursuit of his nemesis.  Conversely, Fox is startlingly skinny but lithe in his role.  He easily slips into his character and does a very convincing job of making viewers believe he has withdrawn so far from humanity that he doesn't have the slightest shred of decency in his soul. Jack Shepherd he is not.

As most movies in this genre do, Alex Cross features a climactic (in this case anti-climactic) fight scene where the good guy prevails over the bad guy.  For the record, this may be one of the most ill-conceived and poorly executed clashes on film in recent memory.  Dark and poorly lit, the camera work is so jittery and chaotic that the viewer has difficulty in figuring out what is happening from one moment to the next.  In the end, Cross and Picasso are perilously hanging from the ceiling of a car park holding on to a piece of reinforcement bar. 

Littered with disturbing scenes of torture, sadomasochism, profanity, and sexual content including nudity, it is amazing that the PG-13 Alex Cross somehow avoided an R rating.  Christians will be disgusted with the types of imagery being portrayed onscreen.  There is little if anything redeeming for people of faith with the exception of Cross being a good husband and family man.


Alex Cross has little to anything going for it.  The acting is ordinary.  The cinematography is muddy and chaotic at times.  Furthermore, the abundance of disturbing imagery and themes make this a “must not see” for the Christian audience and the average movie fan for that matter.  Do yourself a favor, get out and enjoy the fall foliage this weekend.  You will be better served.

Share This article

About The Author


Chris Carpenter is the program director for, the official website of the Christian Broadcasting Network. He also serves as executive producer for myCBN Weekend, an Internet exclusive webcast show seen on In addition to his regular duties, Chris writes extensively for the website. Over the years, he has interviewed many notable entertainers, athletes, and politicians including Oscar winners Matthew McConaughy and Reese Witherspoon, evangelist Franklin Graham, author Max Lucado, Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy and former presidential hopefuls Sen. Rick Santorum and Gov. Mike