NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

October 25, 2012

'Alex Cross' feels like a painful trip to the dentist

I’ve lost count of the number of times myself or my brother have given our father a copy of a James Patterson novel based on the adventures of the character Alex Cross (of which there are plenty). I asked my dad what he thought of these books the other day and he replied that he liked them — that is until they all became “one and the same.”

I wonder what this makes the film version of “Alex Cross,” which despite being the first film in a blatant franchise starter, is already just like everything we’ve seen before when it comes to crummy action films. Here is a film that could easily be stitched together with scenes from other movies, none of them very good, and still end up the same. This is, by far, the worst action movie of the year.

Director Rob Cohen, who kicked off the “Fast and the Furious” franchise in high-octane fashion and hasn’t done much to impress since, crafts “Alex Cross” into one of the most relentlessly insipid films of 2012.

Lazy, tedious, contrived — the movie feels more like a painful unpleasant trip to the dentist than a visit to the cinema. In fact, tools scraping against my teeth would have made the better alternative. At least when I finished, I’d be left with a shiny new grin. When “Alex Cross” cut to credits, I probably looked to be irreversibly depressed.

The movie follows astute Detroit detective Alex Cross, before his years as a member of the FBI (a character captured in the films “Along Came a Spider” and “Kiss the Girls” by Morgan Freeman). He’s highly intelligent but you wouldn’t be able to really tell that from the action on screen, but rather the characters constantly commenting on such throughout the duration. “Oh, Alex. Why are you so clever?”

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