21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
This spider's web is too sticky.,
This review is from: Along Came a Spider (DVD)
If you happen to be a fan of "Kiss the Girls," the 1997 surprise hit thriller, then you may be a bit disappointed in its prequel, "Along Came a Spider," which pits Dr. Alex Cross against yet another kidnapper who has an agenda to be dealt with. As Dr. Cross, Morgan Freeman makes the film watchable at best, but the ominous presence of loopholes, twisted logic, and the overall way in which the movie toys with the audience, results in slight disappointment.
The movie opens with a chase sequence that serves little purpose other than to set up a time of emotional turmoil in Cross's life, after the death of his partner as a result of this pursuit. His personal war against himself is put on hold when he discovers that a young girl, the daughter of a Senator, has been kidnapped, and the kidnapper wants Cross on the case.
Teaming up with Secret Service Agent Jezzie Flannigan (Monica Potter), who was the child's guardian at the private school she attended, the two of them begin sorting through the clues and details involving the kidnapping, trying to get a lock down on the whereabouts of the teacher they believe responsible. To say that the movie makes a mistake by revealing the kidnapper's identity is a misfire, but the fact that we know who he is doesn't enhance the plot, either.
The movie is a sea of loopholes, from the solving of clues to the realization that the kidnapper may not be working alone. Consider a scene in which Cross goes through computer video in order to find a clue to the villain's whereabouts. He goes from searching through a classroom to a live computer camera that is based in the kidnapper's apartment, without any logical explanation for this transition other than a mere piece of dialogue from an extra to explain that what he is looking at is no longer recorded video.
In another scene, Cross has a conversation with the kidnapper about a ransom exchange that took place in an earlier sequence on a subway train. The amount of the money was a mere ten million dollars, but Cross congratulates him for his retrieval of twelve million. This is one of the movie's more admirable twists, letting us in on the fact that since our villain seems to know nothing of this ransom, then there must be someone else involved.
There are plot points that work, and those that don't, and in the end, the movie has toyed with us a little too much. "Kiss the Girls" toyed with our expectations, too, but allowed us time to build our own conclusion before throwing it back at us, all the while keeping our interest peaked. "Spider" toys with us in ways that leave little time to draw any sort of conclusion about what is going on, leading up to a particularly effective surprise twist ending that doesn't cheat according to the rules the plot has set up, though is somewhat hindered by the heightened disinterest in the lead-up.
It's good to see Morgan Freeman back in such fine form; as Dr. Alex Cross, this is the Freeman we all know and love. His ability to instill calm in the most tense of situations is remarkable, and his solving of the crimes is shown in an intelligent, capable light. I will refrain from commenting on the acting of Monica Potter, so as not to reveal what happens, but I gather that the audience will make their own decision about her acting in the beginning and the end once the ending arrives. Michael Wincott is an ideal villain, and however little of him we get to see, his performance is remarkably chilling.
In the end, "Along Came a Spider" is worth it for Morgan Freeman's acting, and some key plot points, but the overall effect the movie has is disappointing. The plot twists of the movie feel more like obstacles than advancements, while the central mystery never reaches a fully interesting fever pitch until the end. There are things that work and things that don't in this film; unfortunately, they never reach a healthy medium.