CLEVELAND -- The production of "Alex Cross" spent several weeks in locations throughout Northeast Ohio in the late summer/early fall of 2011.
Photos: 'Alex Cross' movie stills
Film crews shot multiple scenes downtown, at Akron's Glendale Cemetery and Stan Hywet Hall. Downtown Cleveland's skyline is clearly visible in the trailer above.
This weekend, the finished product will be splattered on screens nationwide.
Here is a review of the film by Claudia Puig of USA TODAY:
Comedy actor/writer/director Tyler Perry should not give up his day job. At least not until he chooses better dramatic vehicles for branching out.
"Alex Cross" (** out of four) is a lackluster police procedural thriller in which Perry plays the titular lead -- a shrewd homicide detective who also is a forensic psychologist. Known for his comedies, Perry must have felt it was high time for him to try his hand at playing a darker role. But starring in this badly directed, suspense-free film with its unintentionally laughable dialogue does Perry no favors.
Already known for his plays, Perry burst onto the Hollywood scene in 2005 with his singularly popular brand of sassy, slapstick comedy. He has since become a huge phenomenon in the upbeat films he writes, directs, produces and often stars in. They usually have a positive message relating to family and often star Perry as Madea, a bossy elderly lady who never hesitates to speak her mind.
No doubt Madea would dismiss this movie as a load of hooey whose plot has been done much better on a bevy of TV cop dramas.
Nearly everyone around him seems to be simply going through the motions -- from the director and screenwriters down to most of the ensemble cast. Perry is earnest and likable in the part, particular in warm scenes featuring his wife (Carmen Ejogo) and his mother (Cicely Tyson).
Director Rob Cohen films some fight sequences so murkily, with the camera moving so shakily, that it can be hard to tell who's hurting whom. A climactic fight between Perry and his serial killer nemesis (Matthew Fox) is shot in such dark colors that it blurs any sense of momentous action.
Writers Marc Moss and Kerry Williamson seem to have ripped a page from the psycho-killer playbook, though they did have more literary source material to draw from. Based on the best-selling books by James Patterson, this appears to be Cross' origin story about his roots as a cop in Detroit before he goes to work for the FBI in Washington.
Brainy and intuitive, Cross matches wits with a diabolical serial killer nicknamed Picasso. Cross' partners, Thomas Kane (Edward Burns) and Monica Ashe (Rachel Nichols), offer assists in the killer hunt, but it comes down to a matching of wits between Cross and the killer, who likes to make abstract drawings in Picasso's Cubist style. He's a sadist with the heart of an artist. Or an artist with the soul of a sadist. Whatever, it all feels ridiculous.
The killer's artistry is obscured by his penchant for torture, administered when the victim is conscious and aware, but paralyzed. He also likes to call up Cross and viciously taunt him. It's a cat-and-mouse game. And the nefarious dealings go right up to the top echelon of the city's wealthiest powerbrokers. The cinematic clichés just keep on coming. Crime-related television dramas have all covered this ground -- repeatedly.
While the action is slack and uninvolving and the look of the film is grubby, it's the rote tale of Alex Cross vs. the artistic serial killer that most disappoints. For a far better time: Turn on the TV and watch an old episode of "Bones."