There aren't many African American sleuths in movies so when best-selling author James Patterson penned a series of novels based on a black detective called Alex Cross nearly 20 years ago, his motive was to create a black hero.
Patterson pictured a 200 pound, six foot athletic African American male. Physical attributes shared by actor Tyler Perry who plays the detective in his first action movie.
“I just wanted to go against the stereotype and create a hero, as I have felt for a long time that the way a lot of movies were portraying African Americans were stupid,” says Patterson.
The plot for “Alex Cross” initially, is fairly simple: catch a crazy serial killer called Picasso (Matthew Fox) whose ultimate target is a Detroit‐based industrialist called Giles Mercier (Jean Reno), but as Cross tries to anticipate the killer’s next move, the unexpected occurs.
A fictional character made famous by Morgan Freeman in the movie adaptations “Along Came a Spider” and “Kiss the Girls,” there are enough twists in the plot to keep the audience entertained. Starring Cicely Tyson as his mother, Carmen Ejogo as his wife and Giancarlo Esposito as a local hoodlum, “Alex Cross” delivers the requisite action thrills, and Perry doesn’t disappoint here. He is a pleasure to watch in a non-Madea role and brings weight to every scene.
“Morgan is a great actor,” adds Patterson, “but Tyler is much closer to Alex Cross in the books, physically, and age wise, and in terms of his ability to do action,” shared the author who also serves as a producer on the movie.
Opening with a scene in which Cross chases down a suspect, there are well staged shoot-outs, car chases, and near-misses and an unexpected final twist. Directed by Rob Cohen (“The Fast and the Furious” and” xXx,”) it’s an intense psychological thriller, and marks the first time actor, director, writer and producer Tyler Perry has acted in a movie directed by anyone other than himself since “Star Trek.”
“When you know how to lead, you also have to know how to follow,” explains Perry. ”Work for hire was what I committed to do when I signed on for this role. I am good at giving up control to people who know where they are going. Rob is that kind of director so I just followed along.”