I love mystery and detective novels so it's not surprising that I have long been a James Patterson fan. Having read every "Alex Cross" mystery, I remember anxiously waiting for "Kiss The Girls" to hit theatres in 1997. As much as I like Morgan Freeman, his "Alex Cross" did not fit the image that my "mind's eye" had concocted from the narrative. The story was great, but Morgan Freeman seemed too old even then for the role. "Kiss The Girls" was followed by "Along Came A Spider" and again a great movie based on an equally awesome book and yet, I was not seeing on the screen what I had in my mind. Enter the latest installment, "Alex Cross" based on the book "Cross" out October 19, 2012! Recently I had the extreme pleasure of seeing an advance press screening of the film. FINALLY, these characters came to life for me in the most unlikely persona of Tyler Perry as he stepped out of his Madea box and deftly nails the role of Alex Cross. When I heard he was doing the role, I was torn between thinking he looked the right age to make the part beleivable and yet, could audiences, including me, look past the Madea character? The answer is an unequivocal "YES"! Not wanting this review to be a "spoiler" to those who can't wait to see the film and haven't read "Cross", let's suffice it to say that audiences are about to view Matthew Fox (Lost) in a whole new light and you're not going to like him. He is the embodiment of "evil" as an assassin whose particular target attracts the attention of The Detroit Police Department and Dr. Alex Cross, a renowned criminologist and detective. Dr. Cross is always "on loan" to the FBI and in this case is contemplating a move to D.C. to become full time with the bureau. Edward Burns is quite believable as Cross' partner and Jean Reno, the renowned French character actor, is very good as the ultimate target of Matthew Fox.
As with any book turned movie, the film makers must take short cuts, characters can't be fully developed and sometimes details are altered or omitted for time. Fans of James Patterson novels know, there are "twists at every turn" and as I did, you will feel for and with these characters.
Upon returning from the screening my wife, who is not a fan of crime novels, but IS a fan of Tyler Perry asked me if she could see it and be able to follow the story and my answer to her was "YES". It's a great crime/cop story that people NOT familair with Alex Cross novels can still follow. I do believe though that fans of the characters in the Patterson novels will have the added pleasure of knowing some "back story". That knowledge enhanced my enjoyment while not dimishing that of a fellow press colleague who viewed the film having never read any James Patterson novels. The 1 hour and 40 minutes flew by and think "Heath Leadger" as the bad guy in Dark Knight and you'll get a sense for how cold and calculating Matthew Fox is, and let's not forget that Ledger's role had visual elements. Fox does it with no makeup and you will "cringe", go ahead and count on it. The "Heath Ledger" evil guy comparison was made by my colleague as we walked out of the theatre. Tyler Perry's fans will be very pleased with his performance. My view is that there are many more "Alex Cross" novels waiting for Perry to create a long running and very successful franchise. I'll have the combo with a diet coke....and I'll SEE YOU AT THE MOVIES! If this trailer doesn't get you pumped and ready...well I don't know what else to do! Enjoy!