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Still shot from the movie: Alex Cross.

Alex Cross

Tyler Perry plays Alex Cross, a detective who is trying to stop a heinous killer that enjoys inflicting pain on his victims before he murders them.

Overall Grade: D
Violence: D-
Sexual Content: C-
Language: C
Drugs/Alcohol: D+
Release Date: 19 Oct 2012
Run Time: 100
MPAA Rating: PG-13


In-Depth Review

Actor Tyler Perry closets his Madea alter ego to play a gritty police detective on the hunt for a psychotic killer in the action thriller Alex Cross.

Taking license with James Patterson’s literary protagonist from the Alex Cross book series, the script is set in Detroit rather than a Southeast Washington D.C. neighborhood. Alex and his partner Tommy Kane (Edward Burns) team up with Monica Ashe (Rachel Nicholas) in a hunt for the serial killer Picasso (played by an emaciate-looking Matthew Fox, the former Lost actor). The twitching assassin takes a perverted pleasure in inflicting pain before slowly torturing his victims to death.

But his intended targets aren’t the only bodies he leaves in his wake. He trains his sight on anyone who happens to get in his way. When Alex discovers a clue to Picasso’s next subject in a sketched charcoal drawing left at the crime scene, he, Tommy and Monica rush to the office of international businessman Erich Nunemacher (Werner Daehn). Although they foil the murder plot, the trio of agents expose themselves to the murderous psychopath who diverts his attention from his hit list long enough to terrorize the officers and their families.

This dark and disturbing drama portrays gruesome modes of torture, point blank shootings, large-scale explosions and frequent brutal fistfights that result in death or at the very least bloody wounds. While other content is scaled back slightly to keep this violent film from garnering an R-rating, on-screen depictions of sexual activity, sexual dialogue and innuendo, other crude language and drug references still make their way into the production.

Seemingly set up in hopes of being the next big film franchise, the story spends plenty of time introducing characters and establishing a reason for Alex to put aside his badge when he feels some police brutality is in order. But unfortunately, despite being set in the car capital of America, this script clunks along like a misfiring Rambler. Full of minor but blatant inconsistencies (like a germ phobic who shakes hands and lands a peck on a woman’s cheek), the movie wastes too many scenes on sensational drama rather than building believable suspense.

In his third film appearance (played previously by Morgan Freeman in the 1997 film Kiss the Girls and the 2001 movie Along Came a Spider), Alex Cross packs too much punch and firepower to appeal to family viewers, especially those who want to dodge depictions of abusive and senseless violence.

Content Details: Beyond the Movie Ratings...

Violence: Characters are frequently shot, beaten, punched and threatened. During a cage fight a man’s arm is broken after a serious battle. A man injects a paralyzing drug in a woman’s neck. A man catches on fire from a stove. Bloody injuries are depicted along with numerous dead bodies. A man sets off several explosions in and outside of office buildings. A speeding vehicle rams a character’s car. Men are shot after taunting a character. A character cuts off the fingers of a woman and puts them in a bowl. Other depictions of tortured women are seen. A man cauterizes bloody wounds and exposes himself to other pain-inducing activities. Characters are hit with a golf club, kicked in the groin, stabbed, bashed with a club and taken captive by an angry mob.

Sexual Content: A woman wears a bikini at a cage-fighting event. A woman strips down to her underwear and a man ties her to the bed in a prelude to sexual activity. Sexual sounds are heard and a brief shot of a couple in bed is seen, along with clothes strewn across the floor. Derogatory sexual comments are made.

Language: The script includes infrequent profanities, scatological slang, mild curses and some innuendo, as well as a few slurs.

Alcohol / Drug Use: A man injects a paralyzing drug into his victims. A woman appears to be high on drugs. References to illegal drugs, including bags of cocaine, are included. Characters drink in a bar or home setting.

This film includes references to drugs and drug induced activities. How can you tell if someone is on drugs and what might you do to help them?

Discussion Ideas: Talk About the Movie...

How difficult is it to adapt a book to the big screen? What are the challenges?

Alex and Tommy seek revenge on Picasso. Is their revenge justified? Are there any consequences for the moments of police brutality?

What product placements do you see in this movie?

Video alternatives

This movie is based on a character Alex Cross created by author James Patterson.

This role is a huge departure for Tyler Perry, who is best known for his female impersonation as Madea. Other crime stopping characters from the pages of literature that have been adapted to the silver screen include Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) and James Bond (Ian Fleming).

Home Video Notes

Home Video Notes: Alex Cross

Release Date: 5 February 2013

Alex Cross release to home video (Blu-ray/Ultraviolet Digital Copy) with the following extras:

- Audio Commentary with Rob Cohen

- “The Psychologist and the Butcher: Adapting and Filming Alex Cross” featurette

- Deleted Scenes

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About the Reviewer: Kerry Bennett

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