Should have named it ‘Cadillac: The Movie’

UPDATE: I just learned that Fox’s character was supposed to be called ‘Picasso’, which clearly came off to me.

Oh dear…where should I start? Should I start with the favorable things? Let’s start with what was good with this movie: Tyler Perry was decent as Alex Cross. Matthew Fox was good as a complete psycho. His over-acting as the character who mysteriously had no name (he’s called The Butcher/Michael Sullivan in the books) was perfect. That was about all that I could say nicely about this movie. Why? Well, let me tell ya’!

I’ve been spending a lot of time over this last semester watching and analyzing movies, more than I ever have before and I have to say it has been both a blessing and a curse. I love movies. I always have. I love cinematography. So, when I see something that just blows my mind, bad or good, I have to blab about it. I went on and on in class about how much I just didn’t get ‘The Master’, but that is for another day. This is about ‘Alex Cross’, and about Alex Cross.

I first was introduced to Alex Cross, the character, when I read ‘Kiss the Girls’ way back in the day before the movie came out. When I found out they were making a movie out of it, I was happy. I thought the movie was decent. Then came ‘Along Came A Spider’ and I was like, “YES! Gary Soneji! And Michael Wincott is playing him? Awesome!” Then I saw the movie, and I wanted to punch it in the hair. I don’t know what happened in that movie, but it came out horrible, and a horrible book-to-movie adaptation that just turned me off to the whole ‘Alex Cross is a movie again’ thing. Then I saw that Tyler Perry was playing Alex Cross and I was like, meh. But the trailer looked decent so I thought, “Ok! Even though it says, ‘From the director of Fast & the Furious'” (I should have listened to my brain). Plus, it was filmed in Detroit so I thought that I’d at least get some interesting stuff out of it and I’d know all the places.

Part of that is true. The film opens at the Packard building(s) where I immediately recognized a pile of shoes that I saw back in April when I was there to film my own crap. Cross and his partner Tommy and some chick detective added for some reason which we sort-of get later, I guess, are running after some dude in the building and they get him, YAY! Then we see Cross’ family and stuff and see that he and his wife are going to have a third child. Blah blah blah! Fox’s nameless character is also there and we get to see that he is being paid to kill someone and goes in to a MMA-type fight going on in a building and he puts a bunch of money on himself to win. After showing he’s bat-shit insane, he wins (?) and the next thing we see if he is at the home of some Asian slut over here on a visa or something; it really doesn’t matter because the whole storyline makes zero sense in the end. Anyway, he ends up “brutally” torturing her and killing her by cutting off her fingers after injecting her with some kind of poison. He really just wants her laptop and password (no clue why, even at the end). Cross and his partner constantly keep saying that it was brutal, but I guess their “brutal torture” budget consisted of $10 because we see barely a sense of brutal torture, unless you count a finger in a bowl and some red. So…not so brutal, really. In fact, this guy calls himself a butcher, yet there was only one person that he killed. Cross and everyone kept saying something about a Four Roses kill. The only reference to a rose was that the butcher left one on one of the Asian sluts’ bodyguards. So, where did that storyline go? No one knows. Soon after this went on Cross “solves” a clue that the butcher left in a charcoal drawing he made and left at the scene. That was a dumb thing to do, idiot! And off they go to this other place, which is the Compuware Building in Detroit. For some reason there are German-speaking people here and then there is talk of water pressure-drop and off they run upstairs where some kind of cat & mouse thing goes on and shit gets blown up and the butcher sees both Cross, his partner and girl. Oh, girl and Tommy the partner are having a thing. Tommy asks Cross if butcher will go after them and Cross says no, it isn’t his M.O.

The story then shifts to that being exactly his m.o. and he goes after girl and “tortures” her. This must have been filmed really badly or wasn’t in the budget to film because all of a sudden she is dead and Cross’ wife gets shot and killed. Now he’s pissed! A bunch of stupid stuff adds up to Jean Reno arriving to a speech where a bunch of cop cars keep sliding all over the wet pavement as they pull up in front of a building while butcher shoots a rocket at the building. Oh, right. You are saying, “Where did Jean Reno come from?” Good question. He’s the dude who is there for some stupid reason, he’s also the boss or something of the German guy who was the second target or whatever. He has a ring from Cambodia! That’s important to point out too, apparently. Cross and his partner, who barely batted an eye over the death of girl who he was supposedly, “In love” with, which we learned during a lengthly, boring driving scene from earlier in the movie, now figure out that butcher is at the “Old Michigan Theatre! But that’s a parking garage now!” Yes, it is! Let’s go there! And there’s a crash and a chase and then fighting and down goes the butcher! That’s the end!

No it isn’t! If you are asking yourself what the fuck this movie is actually about, congratulations! You aren’t alone. It’s about twelve different broken storylines. And it’s continuing now! After Cross says something about it not being the end we are treated to a bunch of out-of-place and stupid timelapse shots of various Detroit ruins and shit. Makes no sense. And then we are back at the Detroit Police station where Cross calls Jean Reno in Cambodia. He confronts him about some stupid shit and then blahblah plants cocaine there or some stupid shit and he goes down for the whole thing. What whole thing? Well, the whole thing in the whole movie. I guess he hired butcher to kill the girl and the guy that worked for him and since he hired the crazy guy who went rogue and killed these cops and shit, Cross “punishes” him! THEN it ends. Cross might have said the, “It’s not over” shit at the end, but I don’t care. Let me get on to some other shit!

Product placement! Oh lordy lord! This movie should have been called ‘Cadillac’. The whole fucking movie is a giant advertisement for Cadillac and other GM vehicles. THE ENTIRE FUCKING MOVIE! The bad guy drives a Cadillac, they show it constantly all gleaming and shiny in EVERY shot! He plays a song where Cadillac is mentioned. TheY point out, in detail, how OnStar works. IN DETAIL! One scene has Alex Cross going to some kind of car show or garage and when they open the door, probably of an old Cadillac, there is a giant neon ‘Cadillac’ sign complete with emblem reflected in the window. COME ON! To be fair there is a fair amount of other GM cars and also of some Ford cars. No Dodge or Chrysler and I can only think that is because when approached about having their cars in the movie they read the script and said, “FUCK NO!” I get that movies cost a lot of money and shit, but this was the worst I’ve ever experienced. There is having stupid product placement that blends in or is blatant in just a scene or two and then there is this movie where they could just call it a commercial for your friendly GM car company. Let me move to the technical aspects of where this movie failed miserably.

‘From the Director of Fast & the Furious’ is not something I’d slap on a film I made. No offense to Rob Cohen, he may be a nice man, but he should NEVER be allowed behind the camera as a director. Every single thing he’s made is a pile of crap. I just looked at his resume. Crap! His directing is manic and horrible and not manic and horrible like Oliver Stone where maybe the story sucks but at least it would be nice to look at or vice versa. You get what I mean, right? Rob Cohen just sucks. In fact, I am adding him to my list where I put Roland Emmerich and, for the most part, Brett Ratner. I know sometimes a movie is at the mercy of a studio and the director can’t even ‘Allen Smithee’ himself out of a project; case-in-point poor Ang Lee and ‘The Hulk’. Ang Lee was at the mercy of the studio in that crap-fest, but every movie Rob Cohen makes is a crap-fest. Two and two equals he sucks as a director. Whoever wrote this script, two people I see, clearly did so from two different rooms if not two different dimensions. It very obviously had many re-writes and over-writes and writes that it is about three story lines crammed into one and it makes zero sense. Why is a white, Irish dude his partner when in the books his partner is John Sampson. Tommy has been made into Sampson because two black men as buds just doesn’t play? If they could have made him a woman, they would have. Why was the story changed SO much from the book? Why couldn’t you have it play out like the book? It makes no sense to me. Don’t make it if you are going to bastardize the whole book. Come up with your own characters and your own title. God damn! Also, there were twelve producers! TWELVE! That seems like a lot to me.

Whoever was the cinematographer should never do cinematography again. I’ve seen plenty of movies that were not very good, story-wise, but had some amazing cinematography. This wasn’t one of them, at all! My god, it was like someone was given a camcorder and just shot random shit. That goes for the editors too. I know that this isn’t all their fault, but since their names are on there they get the blame. There were some choices that were just awful. For example, when Tommy is putting on his shoes after having to “sneak” out from girls apartment there are these awkward cuts to his feet and shoes. There is also an awkward shot when butcher goes to bed with the Asian slut where the shot is lined up to have part of his crotch on the far top left and her legs along the bottom and a bunch of empty space on the rest of the screen and it really was an awkward shot. The shaky cam! The horrible, horrible shaky cam. I don’t know what the hell they were thinking. I guess EXCESS, is what they were thinking, as evidenced by the stupid product placement and shaky cam. So, during every scene that you are supposed to feel anxious over (except when Cross’s wife gets shot, that was decently done) you get what looks like a 1960’s Star Trek earthquake cam, that must have been added in post because I can’t imagine someone on set shaking a camera like that. Plus, during the last fight scene the whole thing looks like someone set some keyframes to constantly rotate 180 degrees and then just deleted them all and left it. Plus, it’s badly edited as a fight sequence with the shakes and the cuts and the weird, smeary, blurs. What the hell?

Overall, this movie sucked. 2043 words later, I can finally say the simple fact is that they made an Alex Cross movie even worse than ‘Along Came A Spider’. And that makes me sad, because I love the character.

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