The Tyler Perry detective thriller “Alex Cross” — just let the words “Tyler Perry detective thriller” sink in for a minute — opens in theaters today. As noted in our review, it’s not very good. But since the movie takes place in Detroit, we’re here to decipher what the movie got right, and wrong, about the Motor City.
Here’s a look at the ups and downs of Detroit’s depiction in “Alex Cross.”
RIGHT: Street names. St. Aubin St., Mack Ave., Bagley St., Griswold St. and Lake Shore Rd. are all mentioned in the movie, and these are real roads that really exist in Detroit and the Detroit area!
WRONG: Street signs. In a climactic scene outside of a downtown courthouse, blue street signs are pictured. We don’t have those in Detroit.
RIGHT: The People Mover’s emptiness. Matthew Fox’s character Picasso boards the People Mover late in the movie and it’s virtually empty, so he’s free to mess with the wiring of the train car.
WRONG: The People Mover’s short hand. Cross, using his keen detective skills, puts himself inside the mind of the killer and guesses where he is. “The train!” he shouts, referring to the People Mover. Has anyone ever called the People Mover “the train?”
RIGHT: The Compuware Building. The downtown building, and its beautiful lobby, are featured prominently in one of the movie’s major set pieces, and it looks luminous on screen.
WRONG: The Compuware Building’s piping. We haven’t seen the blueprints of the building or investigated its plumbing, but we highly doubt you can get to one of the top floors through giant tubes of water the way Picasso does in the movie.
RIGHT: Trick Trick. Detroit rapper Trick Trick appears in the movie as a MMA promoter, and his presence alone lends the film a shot of Detroit authenticity.
WRONG: Jean Reno. The Frenchman plays a prominent Detroit businessman in the movie — who lives at a mansion that looks a lot like Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester — but Reno isn’t like any big-time Detroiters that we know.
RIGHT: Detroit schools. Yes, Detroit schools do indeed exist, which one character mentions…
WRONG: The characterization of Detroit schools. … but when that character is worried about moving to Washington D.C. because she’s afraid the public school system won’t be as good as Detroit’s, it drew howls at the screening we attended.
RIGHT: The Packard Plant and the Michigan Building. Scenes take place at both of the crumbling Detroit landmarks, and their grit and decay look stellar on screen.
WRONG: Slow’s. The Corktown BBQ spot is not in the movie. Not at all. We’re supposed to believe that no characters in the movie ever craved a Yardbird?