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Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Flicks: Alex Cross

A weekly review of a book to film adaptation. 

I've been a fan of James Patterson's Alex Cross series since I first read Mary, Mary. Quickly, I got my hands on a copy Along Came A Spider, and have read every Cross novel since. There have been adaptations of Along Came A Spider and Kiss the Girls, both staring Morgan Freeman as Alex Cross. With Hollywoods recent trend of sequels and remakes/reboots, it came as no surprise when I heard that a new incarnation of the Alex Cross series was beginning production. 

Based on the novel, Cross, a kind of new direction for the books as well, I was more surprised when I heard Tyler Perry had been cast as the famed detective. Known more for his comedies than his serious work, Perry was a bold choice that could have potentially changed the direction of his career. With the talented Matthew Fox (most famous perhaps for his role on the T.V. series LOST) playing the main villain in the film, it seemed viewers were in for a real treat. 

Unfortunately, the actors are never allowed to reach their full potential. While Fox really plays a deplorable villain and Perry shows surprising dramatic chops, they are both weighed down by a script that is simply not good enough. Patterson has never been one to worry about the plausibility of his stories, but the film mostly ignores Patterson's plot, taking the story into even more unbelievable directions. Both characters hint at deeper emotional backstories, but plot never allows them or the audience to delve past the surface. Rather, they are used more as pawns to lead us through a cat and mouse game that comes to an unsatisfying conclusion. For casual action fans, this film is a fine escape that doesn't require much thinking and has a few promising scenes. For fans of Patterson and his Alex Cross series, this movie uses the name Alex Cross for a character that only slightly resembles the one in Patterson's novels. If you're looking for something a little closer to the novels, check out the Morgan Freeman films instead. 

Have you read the novel or seen the movie? If so, what did you think of it? What book adaptations would you like to see as a future Friday Flicks post?

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