Along Came a Spider Movie Review
The next James Patterson book after Kiss the Girls to be made into a movie brings Morgan Freeman back as Alex Cross, but Along Came a Spider is anything but a typical sequel. This time, Ashley Judd isn't being pursued by a ruthless and psychotic serial killer, and Freeman isn't trying to save her. He's trying to save the daughter of a senator from a kidnapper bent on acting out the crime of the century, and this time he is partnered with Secret Service Agent Flannigan, played by Monica Potter.
Along Came a Spider is a smart movie from beginning to end, complete with action, suspense, detective reasoning, and some twists. The kidnapper is as intelligent as John Malkovich in In the Line of Fire, and Cross is on him the entire time, as cunning as he's ever been. Sometimes, it seems like Cross catches onto clues that are so unobvious that things are more convenient for the sake of the plot than in the believability. At other times, the script is turned to for an easy alternative to drawing out a storyline. For the most part, though, Along Came a Spider keeps the audience at bay on an intellectual level.
Its strength also lies in three of the four main stars. Freeman is just as good as he is in every other movie he is in. Michael Wincott, as the kidnapper, brings a new level of creepiness to the screen, as he borders on the line of being a genius or a psychopath (or both). And the child star, Mika Boreem, also delivers a fairly solid and strong performance, although she might be a little too tough and a little too intelligent for her own good.
The weaknesses of the film come in spurts, ranging from minor to major. The movie starts off with an undercover job that has absolutely no bearing on the movie, except to give Alex Cross some extra and unneeded emotions to face with. This scene seems unnecessary for more than a couple of reasons; first, we've seen stuff like this before; second, it has nothing to do with the plot; and third, the scene shows off some of the dumbest and fakest special effects ever seen on the big screen this late in the advancement of computer graphics.
Monica Potter, while she has showed that she can act in other movies like Patch Adams, does not give it her best here. While her performance is watered down by the not-so-good script, which contains dumb line after dumb line, she still doesn't give her character life, even though her character needs life. While she gathers things together at the end, she is not very convincing throughout the entirety of the film.
The ending also needed a little work, in making it more suspenseful and a little more climactic.
Still, Along Came a Spider is a worthy follow-up to Kiss the Girls, as it keeps the audience at a decent level of suspense, and also involves some good twists and turns that make the movie all the better. Some will see the weaknesses as large holes in the movie, but a lot of people should take Along Came a Spider as what it is, a suspenseful thriller, which is something that I haven't seen in a while.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.