I was quite looking forward to this one as this is the third movie based on a series of best-selling novels by James Patterson.
The other two efforts were Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider with Morgan Freeman portraying police psychologist Alex Cross.
The ever reliable Mr. Freeman did his best with what he had but there are far better examples of this genre and as such, they never really floated my yacht.
So was Rob Cohen’s interpretation of printed media any good or a silver screen nightmare?
Plot details and/or spoilers will come to light as things get more personal than Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Those inadvertently involved as cat chases the mouse include:
Tyler Perry – Alex Cross
Matthew Perry - Picasso
Jean Reno – Mercia
Carmen Ajogo – Maria Cross
Rachel Nichols – Monica Ashe
Edward Burns – Tommy
Cross and fellow officers give chase to an unknown crim and after slight effort, he’s taken down. We learn that his wife is pregnant with his third child and Cross visits a girl in prison who has taken the rap for her uncle’s crime.
It’s a boring beginning and things can only get better.
The film actually starts when we see a shifty looking dude accepting a wired payment of $3m by an unknown source.
Our man persuades the manager of an MMA event in allowing an unexpected to participate. The help of a bribe helps and he slaps a bet on himself to kick the ass of a cocky upstart who wins the previous fight.
So, “The Butcher” steps into the ring.
He gives a stern warning to his opponent that if he touches his face that he’ll never fight again. Now if that isn't fighting talk and won’t fire a geezer up, I don’t know what will.
The fight is realistic and after an arm break later, the victor catches the eye of an attractive female.
She takes him back to her expensive gaf hoping for a more intimate clinch. This sort of skirt is too fit to brave the streets alone so he’s subject to a slack frisking exercise by her goons.
After they discover nothing, it’s upstairs to a mattress that can be used for another activity other than forty winks.
He’s not really interested in getting laid though.
She’s ordered to remove her stockings and her wish is granted towards a bondage exercise.
He mounts her not in the way she expected and injects her with a green liquid through a hypodermic needle.
The result is paralysis and it is later revealed that he uses the drug TTK meaning that the receiver is conscious, aware and worst of all, can feel everything.
Cross and his partner Tommy are called to the murder scene by their captain. After forensics conduct a search and take pics, they trot upstairs where a grisly discovery is waiting in a glass container next to where her still restrained body is found
Even if this lady was still alive, good luck playing the piano again...
How he took her bodyguards out is explained in flashback and was all made possible by the crafty concealment of a gun in his modified shoe.
A charcoal drawing of his victim is found suggests that the killer leaves this artistic piece as a souvenir after every kill.
Due to his talent, Tommy labels him Picasso.
To save typing time, from now on I’ll refer to him as P.
Most people hate pain but he’s an animal who eats and drinks such a sensation.
The girl actually died from shock and her heart just suddenly stopped.
After smart ass Cross examines the drawing and notices a hidden message. Let’s hot foot it to next target Nunemarcher.
They go to the apparently impenetrable building but when the water pressure begins to act strangely, suspicions are aroused that somebody dangerous is already in the building.
Emerging from a water pipe using a blow torch, P is foiled with his next hit attempt when Cross threatens lead poisoning; he is forced to place a large handgun on a table.
However, a grenade later allows an evasion but he is tagged in the arm by Tommy.
Whoops Mr. Cross, now that you've established eye contact, a new threat now exists...
Back at the cowboy’s ranch, P treats his wound by using medical accessories and with it, experiences pain.
Is he tougher than the Predator? Even that ugly motherfucker howled when performing a self-repair job but this dude is largely unmoved.
He is ex Special Forces, he is a psychotic, narcissistic sociopath and very dangerous.
The real target is mega rich Mercier and after a meet with all concerned, his life might be hanging by a thread...
P retaliates by taking out Ashe which permanently cancels further ooh la la between her and Tommy.
During a restaurant scene, Cross is called by P and after a conversation involving his ‘floral tie’ and ‘pretty wife’, the opportunity is taken to fatally take her out with a high-powered sniper rifle.
To further assist his grief, another chat on the dog and bone sends him over the edge and decides to take the law which he obeys and respects, into his own hands.
He arranges for his loved ones to be taken to a secret place because he can’t risk a further absentee in the Cross family.
I've no idea which order this happens but whatever, these events occur.
Cross meets with a known criminal in a car dealer’s showroom and in exchange for a valuable gun and guaranteeing his niece’s freedom, the location of the chemist that’s providing P with his paralysing drug is spilled quicker than a clumsily placed glass of water.
They track this place down and after roughing the pharmacist up, CCTV reveals the VRN of P’s motor.
They also break into the Detroit PD and illegally access evidence to assist their objective.
I'm fairly sure we are back on track as we near the climax.
P boards a monorail and its computer is hacked to control the door opening mechanism. He uses a bazooka to take out Mercier in an area which was earlier sealed off by the police.
Having achieved his mission, P escapes via a car in an underground parking lot but his freedom is short-lived as his getaway is interrupted by Cross and Tommy who cut him off with their vehicle.
P is clearly injured but flees to a nearby disused theatre. Tommy is also not looking to hot but Cross is fine thanks to the activation of an airbag.
Armed and dangerous, Cross is naturally in hot pursuit and gives chase to the unarmed assailant.
After his shotgun is spent, his handgun is his final option but is disarmed by P from an elevated position. During this tear up, we observe that this building is in need of a desperate restoration as it’s in a fragile condition...
P appears to have the upper hand but just before Cross knocks on Death’s Door, he correctly predicts that the pleasure in pain seeker won’t just kill him and seizes the moment to get his point across.
They both fall through the ceiling and with P holding on, that grip is quickly loosened and a car below feels little pain...
Tommy conveniently appears and helps Cross to safety.
It appears that’s Game Over man but there’s a final knot left to untie – Mercier.
Moneybags Mercier was P’s employer (remember the start before MMA) and flashback confirms this.
I suppose he could afford all those expensive guns and fancy tools due to performing hits for other billionaires.
Mercier is more crooked than a dog’s hind leg and guilty of embezzlement so out of panic, hired an assassin to eliminate all who knew of his dodgy dealings.
It’s obvious now that the bazooka only killed a hired double posing as him.
He’s contacted by Cross and it’s not about going for a pint.
Drugs have not been planted in soil and Cross has alerted to police to bust him...
I think his daughter gave him up in exchange for immunity as she’s a junkie. The penalty for drug smuggling is rather severe as he looks forward to the firing squad.
When Blackadder went forth, Edmund got away with it...
Cross takes that irresistible offer from the FBI and hopes that Tommy will join him.
He is reunited with the rest of his family and that’s a rap.
This was a decent thriller and has some above average set pieces and genuine excitement.
The performances are largely the acting equivalent of Bambi on ice and the whole thing is suffocated by a fairly drab script and a perfunctory plot that stalls more than an over anxious learner driver.
Leon, er sorry, Mercier has certainly ballooned in all areas since his definite career high as revered cleaner and consider a controlled diet.
Unlike Godzilla, this was hardly a monster turn.
I did like the end fight between Cross and P because of the latter’s injury made it fairly realistic and even then, he nearly defeats Cross. We all know that in normal circumstances, P would have snuffed him out quicker than a candle.
Okay, P’s error was very clichéd and although the reason for such a delay is obvious, he’s too sharp for any tool in the box to be so naive.
Fox should be given credit for not only looking the part but more for his believable and fairly psychotic performance as the charcoal drawing, pain obsessed professional assassin.
He’s best known for small screen hits Lost and Party of Five although some may also remember appearances in Smokin’ Aces and Vantage Point.
Like many that have gone before, it will be criticised when the book is mentioned in the same breath.
If this was a penalty shoot-out, Fox would still be the hero even if he stepped aside, smoked a cigarette and swigged a bottle of cheap vodka.
For all its faults, it’s never terrible but if I could reset the sands of time, a rental viewing was a better alternative.