Actor/writer/director/producer Tyler Perry is best known for his funny grandma character, Madea, but has opted for something more serious by taking on the titular role in Alex Cross, an adaptation of James Patterson's crime novel series about an FBI profiler who tracks down serial and other demented killers. Morgan Freeman played Alex Cross in 1997's Kiss the Girls and 2001's Along Came a Spider. A decade later, Perry has stepped into the role, acting in a project he neither wrote nor directed--something he hasn't done outside of a small role in 2009's Star Trek.
The trailer for the October release from Summit Entertainment just hit the Internet. To say the movie is pulpy is an understatement. The often over-the-top dialogue sounds ripped from the pages of the source material, Patterson's Cross (the twelfth book in the series). Perry's character tries to parse a serial killer's motives, leading to ominously-delivered gems such as "He's ex-military. Special forces judging by his tactics. Trying to make someone hurt. Wants somebody to pay, wants the world to suffer." This is "Law & Order" kicked up several notches.
A nice pulpy crime thriller can be exactly what people need, especially during an off month like October. It's possible Alex Cross could have the success of Taken. In that film, Liam Neeson's daughter was kidnapped. In this film, Cross' wife becomes a target for the serial killer. The Lincoln Lawyer, a legal thriller starring Matthew McConaughey, crossed the $50 million mark last year with a similarly pulpy tête-à-tête between the good guy and the bad guy. These movies are generally in that "dead zone" of budgeting, $25-75 million. They need some effects, but no monsters destroying bridges or epic car chases. They're the kind of movies that some people save for an evening in rather than an evening out. As the trailer makes perfectly clear, by giving up twists that have to be in the third act (wife may be a target! killer uses scuba gear to get into building through pipes!), you'll know exactly what you're getting when you buy your ticket to Alex Cross. For a lot of people, that's a good thing.