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Along Came a Spider

Along Came a Spider

Morgan Can Tuffet Out

by Johnny Bray

Dr. Alex Cross (Morgan Freeman) is a genius. He manages to figure things out that even the world's most brilliant person could not. To him, it all makes sense, and he makes it look so easy. Either he's been doing this his entire life, or he's read the screenplay beforehand.

Along Came a Spider is, in a sense, like a Bond movie. It also features the same central character as Kiss the Girls, though the story is completely different. The character is the only thing linking the two.

It starts off with Cross and his team working undercover to capture a serial killer. But something goes horribly wrong, and his partner is killed. Cross retires, blaming himself for the incident, and spending all of his time building model boats.

Then, one day, Cross is brought out of retirement by the kidnapping of Megan, Senator Hank Rose's daughter. Gary Soneji, the kidnapper, specially requests Dr. Cross for the case. Jezzie Flannigan (Monica Potter), was supposed to guard Megan, and insists on tagging along in order to make up for her blunder. From there, it turns into a giant cat-and-mouse game between Cross and Soneji.

It was nice to see that so many cop/detective movie clichés were not included. For example, in just about every cop/detective movie ever made, there is a higher cop or FBI agent (or whatever) who keeps getting in the way. In this case, the agent in charge of the operation actually works with Cross, and even apologizes for offending him at one point. Of course, there are also many cop movie clichés that are included. See if you can pick them out.

The acting is all good, particularly Freeman, who is always good. Michael Wincott plays Gary Soneji very well, and it's always nice to see bad guys who really aren't all that bad, but just have a good reason for what they're doing. Whereas in this case, his reasoning doesn't really justify the crime, at least he's being creative. Monica Potter seems basically like a blond Julia Roberts. Her look, and her way of speaking, both resemble Julia. Whether this is a good or bad thing I haven't yet decided.

Lee Tamahori, whose only major credit so far is The Edge, does a good job of directing. It's a dark, well-constructed thriller with some nice plot twists at the end. It follows the thriller formula to a T, and the result is very entertaining.

The picture and sound are what you would expect from a current DVD, in that they're first rate. The film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound.

Paramount went all-out on the extras (for Paramount), including the usual scene selection and theatrical trailer, and even a short behind-the-scenes featurette. As always, it would have been nice to see more extras, though the picture and sound are good enough.

Along Came a Spider, from Paramount Home Video
103 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16X9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Starring Morgan Freeman, Monica Potter, Michael Wincott, Penelope Ann Miller and Michael Moriarty
Produced by David Brown and Joe Wizan, Screenplay by Marc Moss
Directed by Lee Tamahori

TechnoFILE Reviews "Along Came a Spider" on DVD


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Updated May 13, 2006