By Marc S. Sanders
When you’re watching a movie and one character says “Now wait here. Let me handle this!” what do ya think is gonna happen? When you’re watching a movie and one character says “Kate, we’ve covered every inch of those woods. There’s no building there!” whatcha think? You think there actually is a building there?
Let me ask you this, what do you think happens in the film Kiss The Girls?
Yup! A whole lot of this nonsense and more that I could cover endlessly. Adapted from James Patterson’s best selling novel featuring his forensics detective hero Alex Cross, Kiss The Girls begins as an effective thriller focusing on the backgrounds of its two leads: dependable Morgan Freeman as Cross, and Ashley Judd as Dr. Kate McTiernan, a skilled surgeon with a specialty in kick boxing (that may come in handy later). At first, we see these characters handling snippets of storylines related to their careers. Cross defuses a suspenseful suicide situation. McTiernan has to console a family whose little girl was in a motorcycle crash. There’s good acting and emotion going on here and I was hoping the film would live up to the promise of these scenes; the characters’ expertise now being applied to Patterson’s main story. It doesn’t.
Instead, the movie just mires itself in plot holes and filler where one character insists on working alone while the other insists on not sitting idly by. This is not character development. This is ping pong volleying. Kate is kidnapped by a serial “collector” of smart, young, beautiful and highly intelligent women by someone regarded as “Casanova.” When Alex’ niece is one of the women taken, he travels from Washington DC to Raleigh, NC to join the investigation.
Soon after Kate has been taken, she manages to be the only one to escape from some hidden dungeon located in the woods. She joins Alex at every turn to find Cassanova and rescue the other captives. Okay. So that’s not a bad set up.
Where it falls apart is in the development. Kate managed to escape by jumping into a river where she’s retrieved by two kids. So wouldn’t law enforcement just sweep that entire area? I mean be really thorough, top to bottom! Surely, you’ll pick up footprints or scents from the dogs. Well, Alex says they did. Fortunately, his niece’s boyfriend finds the map. You know…the map that’s hidden in the library that no one else is aware of and shows this dungeon or whatever it is that’s there. Only one guy, ONE GUY, knows about this map????
When an hour and forty minutes has surpassed, you bet that map is gonna turn up. Remember, also when someone says wait in the car, the one thing you do is not wait. You know, this is a movie. So, Mr. Freeman, please spare me the act of surprise when Ms Judd walks into the bar you’re scoping out. This is all unnecessary, and boring and tired and old.
Kiss The Girls is another film with THAT TWIST! Was it really needed though? Just when the film apprehends the bad guy, and the ladies are recovered safely, there’s a gotcha moment in Kate’s kitchen with lots of knives and pots and pans to play with. Gary Fleder directed this 1997 disturbing thriller in a post age of The Silence Of The Lambs and Seven, which are far superior films. It’s not a film dependent on gore or torture porn, but it’s got the dark stone lined halls for haunted house creepiness. I’m good with that. It’s a thriller after all.
The film’s best assets, however, are Freeman and Judd. These are two top class actors who invest themselves in performance. If only they were working with a much more believable story.
It’s the implausibility in the script that make my eyes roll.