Along Came a Spider (2001) / Thriller
MPAA Rated: R for violence and language
Running Time: 104 min.
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Monica Potter, Michael Wincott, Mika Boorem
Director: Lee Tamahori
Screenplay: Marc Moss (based on the James Patterson novels)
Review published April 8, 2001
While being pleasantly surprised that another chapter in the Alex Cross series of James Patterson's thrillers would hit the big screen, after watching this poorly plotted adaptation, I'm not so sure I will want to see any more. The first film in this series, KISS THE GIRLS, at least tried to maintain a semblance of credibility before sinking into ludicrous depths in the final third. ALONG CAME A SPIDER makes no such attempt. Instead, it not only dumbs down the book upon which this is based, but is astonishingly even worse than most thrillers cranked out made straight-to-video.
The plot kicks off with a man impersonating a school teacher at a private school, who then kidnaps the daughter of a senator in an apparent homage of the infamous Lindbergh kidnapping. He wants Detective Alex Cross on the case, having studied the man's modus operandi for finding criminals, and the chase is on. Cross receives assistance from a female secret service agent who feels guilty for allowing the girl to be kidnapped, but the two find a web more tangled than they anticipated.
Not even the acting talents of Morgan Freeman can save this monstrosity of implausibility from sinking into the abyss of absurdity. As we try to deduce the crime along with the detective, he appears to be onto every move without clues, evidence or even rumors. Instead we watch Alex Cross solve this crime with the omniscience of a god, at the same time solving an almost impossible computer problem within seconds while always knowing the whereabouts of anyone he seeks without even knowing who or what to look for or why he is looking for it.
Freeman is also let down by a rather lackluster supporting cast with Monica Potter, who is practically Julia Roberts in a blonde wig, adding very little in the way of support as his sidekick. The directing by Tamahori keeps things moving briskly, yet just can't do much with a plot full of so many holes you'd think the script was written on Swiss cheese. The only thing that fits is the title, with the entire production hanging together by the barest of threads. Yeah, I suppose entertainment can be had, but a lobotomy might help.
©2001 Vince Leo