Wednesday 27 December 2023

Movie Review: Kiss The Girls (1997)

Genre: Crime Thriller  
Director: Gary Fleder  
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd  
Running Time: 117 minutes  

Synopsis: Washington DC detective and forensics specialist Dr. Alex Cross (Morgan Freeman) travels to Durham, North Carolina upon learning that his niece Naomi has been abducted. He finds local detectives and the FBI on the trail of a serial kidnapper and murderer known as Casanova, who targets high-performing women. The next victim is medical intern and amateur kick-boxer Dr. Kate McTiernan (Ashley Judd), but she fights back and teams-up with Cross to track down the assailant.

What Works Well: The adaptation of James Patterson's book introduces a complex case of missing and murdered women in forested terrain, and carries some good echoes from The Collector. A smooth Morgan Freeman performance adds a sheen of quality, and Dr. Cross' personal emotional involvement to try and rescue his niece elevates the stakes. Director Gary Fleder maintains brisk pacing with regular doses of suspense-filled action.

What Does Not Work As Well: The police work is often rogue and always leaves a lot to be desired. The second half descends into a murky muddle with a poorly defined antagonist, divided narrative attention, and ridiculous decisions that expose victims to further threat. Beyond Freeman and Judd, the supporting cast members (including potential suspects) are interchangeably stranded without prominence.

Conclusion: A promising case is undermined by sloppy inattention to detail.

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