Alex Cross

Where’s Ashley Judd? Ed Burns is here. Where’s Ashley Judd?

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Reported on 7th of January, 2013

Yes, my tagline is that I see the movie so you don’t have to, and my trip all the way to Crawley through the construction of the inexplicable widening of the A23, a two mile stretch of road that was never crowded in the first place, that narrows to 2 lanes before and after, that will take three years to complete, and that furthermore inconveniences me getting to Cinewold Crawley proves it.

Alex Cross

2 December 2013 @ The Cineworld Crawley


$27.00 or, if one must be jejune, and one must... 
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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That last one may not actually be a sentence but here’s the thing: I was just reading the notes I took from three days ago, and I get what it’s like to be you. It’s fantastic! The fact that this is largely because you have me to read should not depress you. It’s fantastic!

The reason I know this is because reading the notes is a different experience than seeing the movie. In the case of Alex Cross, actually seeing the film is very boring. I know this, ironically of course, because my notes will often say this. I often wonder why I will see anything, and I will, but I suspect it’s the notes question in different form. My memory is selective and generally to the positive. This is only for films; it does not apply to Christmas, wars, or wars in the name of Christmas. There are probably a lot of those, but who can remember?

So yes, I will come across the occasional ‘I’m so bored’, which ironically, becomes rather tiresome. But I will also come across such gems as ‘He’s clean‘. Hysterical!

What’s that now? Imagine a super hot corporate executive wanting to have sex with violent cage match winner. Naturally! Then imagine a very silly Mr. Matthew Fox entering the cage match to get close to said executive, instead of, you know, shooting her. Mr. Fox, having succeeded the match and crippling the guy for ‘touching my face’, is invited aforementioned’s bedchamber. Having just seen our baddie nearly beat to death several trained fighters with no weapon whatsoever, what does the security guard do to reassure his boss that she is safe? He frisks the Mr. Fox and says, ‘He’s clean’.

Yes, I’m aware that your female companion used that exact sentence previously, and to recast that selfsame expression with its initial meaning superimposed on the current context would cause great merriment.

This line works almost entirely in delivery (though the increasingly preposterous set-up doesn’t hurt). Take for example: ‘We are all former German police‘. This line is not in itself funny, but delivered by an ludicrously over-Aryanized security guard, and received by a grim Mr. Edward Burns and Mr. Tyler Perry, and remembered by me, will always bring a smile. This is because all concerned treat this line all with the utter seriousness that is required to sell a joke. There may be further irony that Mr. Perry as a ‘comedic’ filmmaker does not understand this, but we are getting to the end of our irony quota. Mr. Perry, it would seem, is apparently only funny in the serious roles. ‘But Madea is a serious role’ counts as irony, and I’m putting my foot down.

The point I’m making: films that are crushingly boring for long stretches, then redeemingly genius aren’t necessarily bad, because what we have left are the notes: Eighties hard rock! ‘We’ve been best friends since we were kids!’ Sassy black grandma! Inexplicable chase through an abandoned warehouse! ‘We’re going to go with a sociopathic killer with a narrow focus’. A cop with a pregnant wife! Unjustified close-up of a Cadillac logo as it drives up! Cage fighting in an abandoned church!, with each of the former punctuated by the comment: ‘Stop being great!’

Alex Cross is high camp to be sure, but it is also like 1980s porn. This is in neither the good or bad way, because Alex Cross is exactly like 1980s porn. Doing a quick keyword search to see if I’ve used this gag before, I genuinely can’t believe I haven’t. Anyway, you may not remember a time when porn had stories (though apparently it still does), and was available not as free unlimited snippets, but as a tape that your friend’s older brother found and we got to see when he was out of the house.

Alex Cross (and many films like this) is like 1980s porn because the reason we supposedly watch it, at least when our friends are around, aren’t the disturbingly anatomical close-ups of genitalia/limbs flying from exploding mid-air car hovercraft collisions, but the attempts from people who have no earthly business writing, and unashamedly doing it anyway. There’s no pleasure in what is supposed to give us pleasure, and lots in what isn’t. Yes, I’m aware that your female companion used that exact sentence previously, and to recast that selfsame expression with its initial meaning superimposed on the current context would cause great merriment.

‘We are all former German police.’

This phenomenon possibly culminates in Mr. Edward Burns making, and I kid you not, a Geico caveman joke, which caused a look up, followed immediately by a somewhat quizzical facial expression on in the discovery that what makes this film great isn’t that it was made in 2005, but that it seems like it was.

Mr. Perry
We have to warn them and the cell phone towers are down!
Mr. Burns
If only the police had some sort of device that could communicate via high frequency electric wavelengths!
Mr. Perry
Radio?
Mr. Burns
I don’t really like drive-time chatter.
Mr. Perry
Dude. 98.5. The Home of the Rock.
Mr. Perry and Mr. Burns, simultaneous
Zeppelin!
The radio
♫Today’s Tom Sawyer…Mean, mean pride♫♩
Mr. Perry and Mr. Burns, simultaneous
Damn.

And yes, as strange as it sounds, and since you’re never going to see it, there was an interesting idea in there. This is where Mr. Perry underestimates Mr. Fox and the latter kills the wife of the former. Lead characters making mistakes in films is virtually non-existent, and though I suspect that this comes from the novel, a medium in which it is easier to have things happen, I equally suspect that the novel is crap. The film is not a very strong advertisement.

AlexCross2

Let’s just pretend that this doesn’t exist. Oh, or that it’s made of candy! Or that its magic can gain us entry into a movie about the executives who approved The Last Action Hero.

Anyway, such a major mistake halfway through the film could really work in something that had even a smidgen of gravitas. In a film where there are literally seven shots of ‘cop cars arriving at the scene’ (a nod to the money guys that their otherwise inexplicably lost $30 million went at least somewhere, and yes, it does get pretty funny by car five), any hope of drama is not so much lost, as it was never there in the first place. Which, by the way, means I can steal this idea. Read the plagiarism laws. It’s not stealing if I tell you ahead of time that I’m going to do it. Wait, that can’t be right. I mean, that’s the equivalent of a killer warning the cops before he…oh, never mind.

By making it sound stoutly bland, with sudden jolts of mediocrity, I’m painting Alex Cross far more watchable than it actually is. The experience of sitting through the entire film is genuine boredom. It’s way funnier reading the notes than watching it, even more so in a few years when I will no doubt remember it fondly. As should you.

Just never see it.

The Take

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Profits!
The Experience of Everything That I Just Mentioned
$2.00
The Memory of Everything That I Just Mentioned
$8.00
Bragging Rights At Having Seen It In The Theater
$26.00
Total Profits
$36.00
Losses!
Actually Having To Sit Through Everything That I Mentioned
$9.00
Total Losses
$27.00

$27.00

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