Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Along Came A Spider

Morgan Freeman returns as criminal profiler and Washington, D.C. cop Alex Cross in 2001's ALONG CAME A SPIDER, a sequel to the limp 1997 thriller KISS THE GIRLS. Instead of Ashley Judd, this time he’s teamed up with Monica Potter (TV’s PARENTHOOD) as Jezzie Flannigan, an agent of the United States Secret Service.

The case that brings them together is the kidnapping of little Megan Rose (Mika Boorem), the daughter of an undistinguished U.S. Senator (Michael Moriarty). Both are fighting demons: Cross, the death of his partner eight months earlier, Flannigan, the guilt of allowing Megan to be taken from school by one of her teachers, Gary Soneji (Michael Wincott). Soneji is one of those super-villains that only inhabit mediocre thrillers—brilliant, obsessed, cool, collected, a master of disguise, and the kind of guy who intentionally leaves behind arcane clues that no real cop would ever spot.

As it turns out, Soneji is just about the most believable character in the film, which delivers not one, but two ludicrous plot twists that come as a surprise only because they’re too ludicrous to anticipate. Freeman is silk, as you would expect, and acts rings around the miscast Potter, who lacks the gravitas to inhabit a role with so many sides. Director Lee Tamahori (DIE ANOTHER DAY) delivers a slick, professional product, but an empty one.

Although ALONG CAME A SPIDER, based on James Patterson’s 1992 novel—his first about Alex Cross—grossed more than KISS THE GIRLS did, Paramount didn’t make a third Cross movie. Tyler Perry, of all people, played the character in 2012’s ALEX CROSS, a much worse film.

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