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Along Came A Spider

In this second movie of a James Patterson book (the first being Kiss the Girls), Morgan Freeman reprises his role as Detective Alex Cross, a criminal profiler who must track down the kidnapper of a politician's child.


Detective Alex Cross leaves his self-imposed retirement when he is contacted by the kidnapper (Michael Wincott) who snatched the daughter of a D.C. senator (Michael Moriarty) out from under the Secret Service by posing as a prep school teacher. Cross finds a willing partner in guilt-ridden Secret Servicer Jezzie Flannigan (Monica Potter), who, as the school's head of security, feels personally responsible for getting the girl back alive. The plot twists and turns to eventually involve the son of the Russian president, millions in diamonds and Charles Lindbergh.


Morgan Freeman could win awards with role in a National Lampoon movie, so it's not surprising he's about the only bright spot in this otherwise rote thriller. He's a brilliant criminal profiler, able to make astounding leaps in judgment in single bound, create elaborate model boats out of twigs, and run like hell when required. OK, we believe it. What we don't believe is pouty Monica Potter (close your eyes and you'll think it's Julia Roberts talking) as a Secret Servicewoman. Nor do we buy Wincott as the kidnapper--despite having a good face for villainy, has there ever been a blander, wimpier bad guy? He goes so far as to make Cross his personal therapist in a silly showdown, begging, "understand me!" and blaming his neglectful parents for his actions. Moriarty as the senator has one line in the whole movie.


Director Lee Tamahori (The Edge) tries like hell to make this film suspenseful, but most of the action is routine and much of the dialogue is downright inane. (Cross: "He's playing a game!" Hmm-you don't say?) Nothing about this movie will have you on the edge of your seat unless it's with laughter, like during the uninspired cat-and-mouse chase scene in which the kidnapper has Cross running all over town from phone to phone ("You have four minutes, go!" And off Cross goes--the poor guy should've at least gotten a few minutes extra to catch his breath). The illogical plot holes are big enough to drive a Mack truck through, although the unobvious twist late in the film is pulled off rather well.

Bottom line

You'll spend more time discussing this movie's flaws than discussing its virtues, but Morgan Freeman makes it worth a look anyway.