A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is very violent, with many deaths and lots of spurting blood. Characters use strong language. Many people may be upset by seeing children in peril, though Megan and her friend are strong, brave, loyal, and very smart. Other characters betray the trust of people who have been good to them, which may be disturbing to some viewers.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Morgan Freeman returns as Dr. Alex Cross in this prequel to Kiss the Girls. Monica Potter plays Jazzie, a Secret Service agent assigned to a private school in Washington D.C. When Megan (Mikka Boorem), a child of a senator, is kidnapped from the school, Jazzie blames herself. Contacted by the kidnapper, Cross becomes involved in the case and seeks Jazzie's help.
Is it any good?
The movie's filled with plot points that make little sense. Like the original, ALONG CAME A SPIDER has a nursery rhyme title and centers on a kidnapped girl. This time it is not a serial killer, just a madman inspired by the Lindburgh kidnap case, trying to make a name for himself with the crime of the new century. And this time the kidnap victim is not a woman but a little girl, the daughter of a United States senator. Let me just point out here that the Secret Service does not protect the children of senators or even senators, who are in a different branch of government. We'll give them some leeway for movie logic, on that one. But there are some lapses, like having the President of Russia living in Washington, DC, that are simply preposterous.
Freeman, as always, is a pleasure to watch, bringing a complexity and weight to every scene that almost makes up for a dumb plot. But even he cannot make up for Monica Potter, who replaces Ashley Judd as Freeman's co-star, and who is as bland as a Barbie doll, and with an even blanker facial expression. There are shoot-outs, chases, and near-misses, some well staged. But the final twist is just plain dumb, and neither the performers nor the script's explanation of the characters' motivation have the panache to carry it off. No one could, especially when they resort to that hoariest of clichés, the good guy figuring it all out and then going out to the deserted location where it is all happening all by himself! At least they spare us the long explanation by the villain about the master plan.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what people do when they have to pick themselves up and go on following a disaster. They may also want to talk about how we decide whom we will trust and how we find reserves of strength when we are in scary situations. They should discuss Cross' statement that everyone is born with a gift or gets good at something and "you don't betray that." They might also want to talk about whether criminals really are motivated by the prospect of fame, and whether there is or ever will be again a hero as universally adored as Lindburgh was.
- In theaters: April 6, 2001
- On DVD or streaming: September 25, 2001
- Cast: Monica Potter, Morgan Freeman, Penelope Ann Ann Miller
- Director: Lee Tamahori
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 103 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence and language
- Last updated: January 23, 2020
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