Film lacking flair and panache and bearing all the hallmarks of a cult bad film in the making
James Patterson’s series of novels about the titular detective has twice before been adapted for the screen, starring Morgan Freeman in both Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Now rebooted in the guise of one-man media empire Tyler Perry, Rob Cohen’s take is a cliché-ridden mess featuring a leaden lead performance and a disastrous script.
After opening with a redundant action scene directed with all the flair and panache of a straight-to-VHS Steven Seagal flick, the point is rammed home that ‘Detective Doctor’ Cross is a ‘really nice guy’ in a series of painful vignettes. Whether he’s professing his love for his wife or bizarrely playing around with his mum, he shares with his family a forced camaraderie suggesting he’s only just met them and learned to remember their names. Perry is woefully out of his depth here and he shares a similarly pained lack of chemistry and flat humour with his colleagues, particularly his partner and best friend, Tommy Kane (Edward Burns channeling all of Richard Gere’s hair and none of his charisma). To be fair, no one is dealt any favours from a startlingly insipid script. When explaining to his wife why he should take a promotion to the FBI, Perry sombrely tells her it has 'great health benefits, great dental.'
Supposedly combining the qualities of Sherlock Holmes and Manhunter’s criminal profiler Will Graham, Perry is fooling no one but the cast. It's galling to see Jean Reno and Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito slumming it, but at least they haven’t endured Robert DeNiro levels of physical preparation for their roles. Enter Matthew Fox.
Looking more like a steak than a man, the former Lost actor inexplicably took it upon himself to shred almost all his body fat and bulk up his muscles in order to play the villain of the piece, a hitman who delights in subjecting his victims to pain. Now bereft of his trademark good looks, a gaunt-looking Fox twitches and tics with abandon, torturing his victims to death with gleeful joy.
After puttering out with one of the most anticlimactic fight scenes ever to grace the screen the film laughably attempts to add depth with a tiresome twist. Suffering from delusions of franchise, this is more Scooby-Doo than Silence of the Lambs, and bears all the hallmarks of a cult bad film in the making.
Selected release from Fri 30 Nov.