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Ray Keene (John Cusack), a father who wants to redeem himself in the eyes of his son (Jamie Anderson), is trying to bring Carden (Morgan Freeman), a world-class assassin to justice. All the while, he must protect his son and evade the assassin's team who are methodically hunting them down in the wilderness. Written by
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The Contract presents itself as an engaging action thriller with lots of twists. Including the always enjoyable performances of John Cusack and Morgen Freeman one should be in for a great ride. But after several moments into this film it becomes clear why the script has been lying on a dusty shelf somewhere for so long, waiting for top actors to get involved.
Even with the star involvement, the movie just fails to surpass its weak plot and tired premise. Ex-cop Ray, (Cusack) estranged father, and his son are on a hike to better their relationship when they stumble upon a fatally injured policeman and his prisoner, the hit-man Carden (Freeman). In stead of just letting Carden walk as Carden suggests, Ray, for no apparent reason, decides to turn him over to the police at the risk of his own life and that of his son. After this the chase through the woods for Carden by both the police and Carden's accomplices begins. With people running through bushes, occasional gunfire and certain bad weather.
Although Freeman and Cusack give away ample performances, the dialog seems to be that of some average TV-series. The villains and the characters of the police fare even worse. The movie just doesn't pick up any speed as it steers clear from any interesting action or build up of suspense. And especially the lack of motive for Ray to keep going with his plan to turn Carden in gets annoying after a while and this doesn't work very well in terms of sympathy for his hero-character. It is obvious that Catz wanted to write a story in which the bad guy develops sympathy for his capturer and maybe the other way around as well. But the cheesy, almost campy way this is attempted and the high number of scenes that just don't make any sense, stand in the way of its success.
Like the former reviewer pointed out, the movie is crammed with clichés and is lacking any originality. There are no mentionable plot-twists to keep the film interesting and the hackneyed screenplay is often accidentally comical.
I wouldn't even recommend getting the DVD. Just wait till it's the movie of the week and then see something else in stead.
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