When you get to Morgan Freeman's age (he turns 64 in June), it must be comforting to have your own movie franchise/pension scheme to keep you solvent in your twilight years. That's what the venerable actor has thanks to "Along Came a Spider", in which he reprises the role of forensic psychologist Dr Alex Cross, whom he first portrayed in 1997's "Kiss the Girls".
Cross - a close relation to the world-weary detective that Freeman played in "Se7en" (1995) - is the hero of a series of bestselling crime novels by James Patterson, which means there are lots of other stories to keep Morgan busy in his dotage. "Along Came a Spider" has been a huge hit in the States, so you can expect to see more of the unflappable Cross in years to come.
This time around, Cross is called in to investigate the kidnapping of a congressman's daughter from an exclusive private school. With help from junior Secret Service agent Jezzie Flannigan (Monica Potter), Cross quickly realises the abduction is part of an elaborate plan cooked up by Jonathan Mercuzio (Michael Wincott), a deranged madman out to emulate the Lindbergh baby-snatch of the 1930s.
Beginning with a stunning piece of computer-generated trickery involving a speeding car and a raging torrent, Lee Tamahori's workmanlike thriller quickly settles down into a predictable series of confrontations, twists and shock reversals. It's not exactly "Se7en" - more of a three, really - but Freeman always gives good value and the result is never less than watchable.
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