Along Came a Spider (Lee Tamahori, 2001)
[originally posted 26Feb2002]
Alex Cross (Morgan Freeman) is back for film #2, this time with a new partner (Monica Potter) and a kidnapped Senator’s kid. Most of my Kiss the Girls review could be cut and pasted into this one, and that is the film’s main failing; there’s just not that much new here. The movie is a strictly paint-by-numbers mystery flick of the kind that seems to have been endemic over the past couple of years. It’s a good enough way to escape from the world for a couple of hours, but it ranks in the empty calories section of the video rental shelf: you won’t take anything away from it.
The film opens with the daughter of a Senator (Michael Moriarty) being kidnapped from her school. The kidnapper gets Cross involved in the investigation by dropping a piece of evidence off in his mailbox and calling him. Jezzie Flanagan (Potter), who’s been the Secret Service agent in charge of guarding the kid, latches onto him, and the two end up as partners in the investigation.
The plot twists show up exactly where you expect them, and should be predictable to anyone who’s watched more than five mysteries between The Thirty-Nine Steps and Kiss the Girls. Everyone reacts the way you’d expect them to in every situation. Everything is safe and requires no thought. Structured and filmed the way Barbara Cartland used to write novels, and about as fulfilling. Morgan freeman gets two stars for his acting ability alone, but he can’t carry this by himself. **