This web spins no intrigue
Good actors=Good films?
For director Lee Tamahori the easiest way to make a terrible film look passable is by casting reliable and gifted actors.
He did it in The Edge where he casted the brilliant Anthony Hopkins. This time round, he tries with Morgan Freeman in Along Came A Spider.
He succeeded to a certain degree earlier with the former, but with Along Came A Spider, sequel to the 1997 Kiss the Girls (Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd) based on James Patterson's crime fiction novels he fails.
Set in Washington DC, one fine afternoon, a mentally dysfunctional mastermind Gary Soneji (Michael Wincott) abducts the senator's little daughter Megan Rose (Mike Boorem) from a private school.
Soneji, pretending to be a teacher, hopes to recreate the Charles Lindbergh kidnapping case and earn some notoriety.
And Detective Alex Cross (Morgan Freeman), also a noted profiler receives an unsolicited invitation to solve this case when Soneji drops Megan's shoe in his mail box.
Cross reluctantly ropes in secret service agent Jezzie Flannigan (Monica Potter) to assist him in cracking down Soneji.
Simple enough you'd think?
Director Tamahori has something else in mind. Which means another half hour of absurdities. For one, Cross hacking passwords like he was playing scrabble.
Back to the story:
Now if you thought Cross and the senator's security service are being hoodwinked by Soneji, you'll balk when you hear that Soneji is being hoodwinked by someone else!
The mysterious offender's motives for doing so -- an extra 20 minutes of additional film or provoking disgust? Take your pick.
One of the main reasons why the film doesn't work is because it religiously sticks to clichés and formulas and tries to make the improbable look authentic.
Even a spastic could make out that Soneji is sporting a horrendous synthetic mask. Also a school going kid like Megan trying to dig through massive brick walls with the help of a dining fork is far fetched.
Yet another hitch is composer Jerry Goldsmith's The Mummy/The Mummy Returns styled tunes, which gets distracting.
Fortunately the cast delivers the goods. Morgan Freeman who reprises his part of Detective Alex Cross after Kiss The Girls is the only respectable factor in this otherwise humdrum trash.
It's a cakewalk for the actor who has done the composed, smart, thinking cop routine in Seven, as he comes up with a compelling performance.
Monica Potter (Patch Adams, Con Air) shows sparks, while Michael Wincott is painfully intense.
Unless you are a die-hard Morgan Freeman fanatic, Along Came A Spider is as interesting as a bag of soggy crackers.