Directed by: Lee Tamahori
Written by:Marc Moss
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Monica Potter, Michael Wincott, Mika Boorem, Penelope Ann Miller
Released: August 16, 2001
Grade: C+

Now it’s time for some audience participation.  Stand up and spread your arms as wide as you can.  Come on, you can stretch them wider than that.  That’s better.  Now what you are illustrating is just how big the plot holes are in the latest crime-thriller, Along Came A Spider.

As a prequel to Kiss The Girls, Police Detective Alex Cross (Freeman) reprises his role as a leading expert in criminal profiling.  Eight months earlier, his partner put her life on the line and was killed on duty.  In semi-retirement since that fateful night, Cross still blames himself for her death and he hasn’t been the same since.

Attending a local school is 12-year-old Megan Rose (Boorem).  As the daughter of a White House Senator, she has to be monitored daily by Secret Service Agent Jezzie Flannigan (Potter) to ensure her safety.  One lunch hour, Megan is called into the office of her teacher Gary Soneji (Wincott) who isn’t quite who he appears to be.  Soneji kidnaps Megan leaving a message specifically for Alex Cross that he has her.  What is his motive?  How did he get past security?  Why has he involved Cross?

Yes, the answers are gradually revealed but no, they aren’t necessarily believable.  Last week I promoted Sean Penn’s The Pledge as a perfect example of a crime flick that defies convention.  This week, I can show you the exact opposite.  Along Came A Spider is just nonsense.

Morgan Freeman is a great actor and for the opening hour, his passion for the case makes the movie worth following.  He carefully dissects the clues and slowly puts the pieces of puzzle together.  Then, the film spirals.  Following a $10m ransom drop, a series of bizarre twists and strange coincidences left me shaking my head.  Without giving anything away, I’ll just say that the whole “Aces & Eights” thing is just what I’m talking about.

I haven’t read James Patterson’s novel (upon which the film is based) but can safely conclude that this is a very weak adaptation.  New Zealand director Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors) impresses with his work in Along Came A Spider but he deserves more substantial and meaningful material.  Along came… a waste of money.