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Laramie Movie Scope:
Along Came a Spider

Doctor Alex Cross Rides Again

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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April 21, 2001 -- I really liked "Kiss the Girls," the first movie featuring super sleuth Dr. Alex Cross (played by Morgan Freeman). The new movie, "Along Came a Spider" featuring the same character, played by the same actor, is not as good, but it is an engaging story. It is based on the first in a series of novels featuring Alex Cross written by James Patterson.

This time Dr. Cross is up against the spider-like Gary Soneji, (AKA Jonathan Mercuzio), played by Michael Wincott of "Before Night Falls." Soneji pulls off a ridiculously complicated kidnapping which requires him to wear makeup for years on end, among other things. He has planned every last detail of the kidnapping. Catching him will be quite a challenge. There is much more to the story, but I don't want to give anything away.

Cross is accompanied by Secret Service Agent Jezzie Flannigan (played by Monica Potter of "Patch Adams"). The child who was kidnapped, Megan Rose (Mika Boorem of "The Patriot") went to a special school for the sons and daughters of diplomats and high level politicians. As such it had high level security systems and it was swarming with Secret Service agents. Rose, the daughter of a senator, is not a helpless captive. She is smart and brave and she attempts to escape.

The story begins with Cross losing a partner in a sting operation gone bad. He is reluctant to get back in to the detective business, but his presence is requested by Soneji, who leaves evidence in his mailbox. He is also intrigued by the subtle clues Soneji leaves for Cross to follow. The Secret Service doesn't like Cross being invited to the case, but are soon won over by Cross' intelligence.

Some of the plot twists in the film strained credulity, but I'll say one thing, they did catch me off guard a time or two and the film did keep me guessing. Freeman does a good job with his character, as he almost always does. Aside from Cross and Rose, none of the other characters in the film are very interesting. Monica Potter was O.K., but her character was rather one-dimensional, as was Soneji. There really wasn't anyone in the movie with the depth of character displayed by Ashley Judd's character in "Kiss the Girls" to help carry the film. For that matter, more could have been done with the Cross character, given the setup at the beginning of the film. It was a decent setup, but not much was done with it.

The film is competently directed and the production values are good. There are some nice location shots and there is an interesting ransom drop off scene. It is a pretty slick film for the most part. It is not a bad mystery thriller, but not quite as good as its predecessor. It rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2001 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)