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|Index||32 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First of all, let me just mention the fact that I have not yet had the
chance to see the Mark Whalberg movie Shooter. The Contractor and
Shooter are, at least on paper, almost the same movie. A hit-man is
given one important assignment, to kill someone very important, he does
the job and then finds out he was set up by the very people that hired
So, Wesley Snipes has not been in a good movie since...well since Blade 2 if you ask me. His DTV career led to him making his worst movie The Marksman. After that low point I had not expected him to make another decent movie for a very long time, I half expected him to follow in Steven Seagal's steps and keep making awful DTV movie after awful DTV movie.
With The Contractor, I was proved wrong. The movie has nothing original in it. You've seen it all before and done better, but what it does is something more DTV movies should do: it keeps the story simple and clear, it has interesting and well developed characters, it has some nice locations, it has a pretty good soundtrack and it has some talented actors. The director was OK, nothing special, but unlike most DTV directors, he manages to actually direct coherently and pretty well. The Contractor is more of an action thriller, it has a quite low action quotient, but we do get some nice shootouts, nothing special, a pretty cool fight scene, but the thing that keeps the movie going is a nice and clear and very well told story that, despite being completely predictable, it works because it follows the formula in a very relaxed manner, it just does its job effortlessly and that is the best thing about the entire movie.
The movie does what it sets out to do, to be an entertaining action movie and it does it quite well. The cinematography is nice, the music is good, the acting is very good (although no awards will be handed out) and the pace is nice and relaxed, not too slow, not too fast.
The Contractor is a competent action thriller that had it received more attention it could have and should have been a Cinema movie. It just did not have a big enough budget to be a Cinema movie and that shows in the action scenes, they are not bad, just too simplistic and minimalistic and not through intent, rather through a lack of money to do anything bigger. There is one actress in the movie, the young girl, who really stands out and impressed me and that is quite unexpected in such a movie. Snipes genuinely seems interested in the movie and in the material and although he clearly is not at the level we've seen him before (his career is full of examples of fine acting) he puts just the right amount of effort into the movie.
Overall, the best movie Snipes has done in quite a while, a nice action movie that is definitely worth seeing and perhaps the first step towards bigger and better things for him.
Definitely one of the best DTV action movies out there. Snipes has managed to reach the level of quality we're used to seeing from him and this movie is on par with the action movies put out in recent years by Jean Claude Van Damme (Replicant, In Hell, Wake of Death, The Hard Corps, Until Death all above average action movies) and Dolph Lundgren (The Defender and The Mechanik).
Thus far, Wesley Snipes output of DTV flicks has been somewhat poor in
quality. That would be the polite way to describe dreck like The
Detonator and The Marksman anyway. However, his last flick, Hard Luck,
re-teaming with his New Jack City director, Mario Van Peebles, was at
least watchable. It was a bit all over the place sure, but Snipes gave
a performance of some interest. The Contractor is most certainly, Wes's
finest DTV action flick so far. That's not to say it's particularly
great, but on an overall scale, it's about on a par with Van Damme's,
The Hard Corps.
The plot is in part similar to Mark Wahlberg's recent flick, The Shooter, and also Leon. It's the Leon part of the story that works best in this film, while the usual hokey espionage and agency double crossing is the main ingredient on the Shooter side of this film. Snipes is an ex-sniper called in to do a job and ends up being left to take the fall for his employers, who also want to dispose of Snipes now. Following his assignment and initial run in with the law, Wesley holes up in a safe house, where he meets Emily, a tenacious and troubled young girl, who is neighbours with the safe houses owner. She helps James Dial (Snipes) recuperate from a gunshot, while also helping him avoid capture. The relationship between Dial and Emily could have wrecked the movie with inconceivability, however it works.
This is where the film's main strength lies, the cast. Wesley for a start puts in the effort. He's not dialling this one in, like previous roles. He gives the role extra dimension. The cast, for a DTV film, is also blessed with recognisable names. Lena Headey is good, and hot, and Charles Dance and Ralph Brown also appear to add class. The real star here though is young actress Eliza Bennett, who plays Emily. It's so rare that young actors can really immerse themselves in a role, and be totally natural on screen. We've seen it countless times in even the biggest flicks, that young actors given important roles just cannot act. I give you Jake Lloyd as an example, or the Harry Potter kids (from the first two flicks at least, while even now they only border on competent). But Bennett is a real star in the making, oozing potential and an amazing amount of gravitas for someone so young. She is her character, and we never have to make account for her being a young actor playing a role out of her range. She has a good role that she not only does extremely well, but I imagine, created much of herself. We're talking on the same playing field as Haley Joel Osment, Dakota Fanning, Freddie Highmore. She'll be huge I predict. Indeed I think Wesley would have appreciated having someone with real, genuine talent to work off. It's a role that requires maturity and immersion, and because Bennett becomes her character so effectively, she and Snipes can work off each other so well. To think a DTV could have pulled a gem out the hat like this is quite something. By past occurrence, Snipes should have been acting opposite a lump of infantile, irksome, wood.
One failing of the film lies at the feet of director Josef Rusnak. His aping of Tony Scott is problematic. The constant hand-cranking of the camera and blitzkrieg editing, just gets painful, and the action is a mixture of competent, neat scenes, and real misfires, such as a strobe lighting shootout. As for hand to hand fisticuffs, Snipes has one brief fight, which is really well done. A bit more of that would have been better than the somewhat underfinanced gunfights. Still there's a few good foot and car chases here, while the UK locales make a change from the DTV norm of Eastern Europe (Though there's still some fairly blatant Bulgaria moments here). The score isn't too bad either. It's neither memorable, exciting, nor is it irritating or grating. Overall a decent DTV effort. Worth a watch if only to marvel at a shockingly decent cast for such a film. Look out for Bennett in the future too. **1/2
This is your typical Wesley Snipes DTV film. I mean you can only go as
far as the script goes, and this movie does just that, very simple
script, very simple movie. The actors did a decent job. Watching movies
like these really makes me wonder how much Snipes and the other actors
earn turning in these films, because they must know something that I
don't. Because an actor the caliber of Wesley Snipes could easily pick
up a good script somewhere and make summer blockbusters.
A. Wesley isn't doing this strictly for money and has a more distinct personal interest in the parts that he has been playing....or
B. Wesley makes a lot more money from these than any of us really know.
Either way, decent movie, I recommend watching it if you are a Snipes fan like myself. He has made far worse.
Have previously enjoyed Wesley Snipes in several action flicks and I
had expected a lot more, even from a score of 5.8 IMDb, the movie fails
to entertain and even though the story is thin and unoriginal, the
acting is most unfortunately thinner and goes to mimic a "worst case
scenario" of playing "strong" feelings accompanied by some bad
acting... Don't waist your time this movie ísnt entertaining, if you
wanna cry it might suffice though, even though your tears will be wept
due to seeing Wesley Snipes in the tragic action film wannabe comedy...
I give this 2/10 it really was awful, if you wanna see a decent movie go see shooter or rent it, its all the good things this movie isn't.
Having just seen Hit-man, another film of the type "good hit-man fights
bad hit men", but incredibly stupid, The Contractor seemed to me of
incredibly unexpected good nature. The main character is human,
fallible, vulnerable. He does his job as well as possible given the
circumstances, he tries to save his skin as well as possible and when a
stern "Moscow rules: if the mission fails you're already dead"
assignment comes his way he feels no confusion when deciding he should
stay very much alive, no matter the mission.
Of course, in all this gem of a script idea there is also bad screen play, occasional bad acting and things that make no sense. It's like a good machine without oil, everything is well made but not really working. The action scenes are shaky and amateurish for a Snipes movie, but then again, the point was not the action or the technical prowess of the hit men, but the fact that they are human beings.
At first I thought it was going to be another Nikita/Leon ripoff, but the girl story arch was sensible and reasonably original. The ending was a little bit forced, too.
Bottom line: in the abysmal hell of bad written hit-man action movies, this obscure film is a real gem in the mud and a reminder that the budget is not really important, nor the genre of the film, but the very real effort of actually trying to make a movie, not just money.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I wouldn't call it awful, but nothing at all shines in this movie, and
it is encumbered with some seriously unbelievable basic plot
development. It starts out well, but once the main hit is done, it
devolves into a long subplot around a young girl which is not
compelling, and some action scenes which are theatre of the absurd
unrealistic. For example there is a prolonged shootout at the airport
in which the lighting is all stroboscopic. No explanation for that. How
credible is it that a airport storage area is going to have lights that
flash on and off confusingly, and just enough to let Snipes do his
incredible escape schtick? This is one of far too few action scenes
punctuated by pointlessly drawn out set ups that just fails to draw one
into suspending belief.
In addition, the whole premise seems to be that the United States CIA team can shoot the place up but get away with it by saying "national security" to the Brits. This gimmick relies on a stereotype that is to far afield from reality to be satisfying.
There are a lot better action movies out there. Better formulated, better executed. This one is entertaining at times but there is just not enough meat on the bone and after a while it becomes downright boring -- something that should never happen in a good action movie.
Wesley Snipes is James Dial, an assassin for hire, agent of the CIA and
pure bad-ass special operative. During his free time Dial dons a cowboy
hat and breeds horses with macho names such as Beauty.
Enter agent Collins, his supervising officer. Enter a new assignment - kill a terrorist that is in UK custody. Of course the United Kingdom being an allied state is a great place for covert ops and head-shots outside of courtrooms.
The assassination is a big success apart from the fact, that the escape plan blew. So Dial's partner and local liaison gets killed in action trying to escape the police, whilst Dial becomes hot property with the London coppers trying to get to him and CIA trying to dispose of him.
Fortunately for Dial the safe-house is routinely visited by a teenager Emily Day (Eliza Bennett), who loves hanging out with cold-blooded killers with arrest warrants and help them escape from the evil UK law enforcement...
With a script like that need I say more? On the plus side Wesley Snipes is Wesley Snipes (be that a pro or a con) and the movie is quite engaging. On the minus editing is very disjointing and has a hurl effect on the stomach.
Every film has a heart. Some hearts are more special than the others.
But you are bound to get a wrong impression if you draw your inference
without knowing where the heart is.
To the plebeian crowd, if Wesley Snipes is on the poster, that means some semi-mindless non-stop action, with a streak of silly humour once in a while, is coming their way. But Wesley never signed an agreement about that, did he now? This is not an action film, though you see some action in it.
First of all, it is a very low budget film, so don't go all tough and smart criticizing it. Those B-movies, which come to TV only late at night because other slots are for those blockbusters, can certainly not be measured against The Art of War or Blade. The Contractor is a simple, low budget film that shows a little girl's bond with an assassin, whose mission has gone wrong and who has fallen the prey of his own employers. While the action sequences and other things are inadvertently done, very special care has been taken of those moments that reflect the warmth of feelings. Lena Heady was not a necessary recruit for this film, her role any pretty face could play. But I like her, so I am glad she did it.
Some low budget, non-famous films sometimes leave lasting impressions. Maybe they fail overall in box office and audience poll, but sometimes there can be very heartfelt elements in such films. I watched it late at night and liked it for what it is. I was not disappointed for what it was not. Because if I wanted someone other film, I would watch some other film.
But of course, idiots have minds (and comments on IMDb) of their own.
Not your typical Wesley Snipes kind of movie.(not really anyway) The acting isn't horrible. It was movie I watched it at mid evening with some popcorn, and it kept me entertained most of the time. It had a few good action scenes, but mostly it was a drama movie. The plot is by no means original either, but it plays out OK I guess. Snipes definitely wasn't at his best here. I haven't seen the other movie that is the same story, so I can't say which is better. Although I didn't feel the need to pause it for refills and pit-stops, So I gave it a 5/10. I wouldn't go to a theater to see it, but its good for a movie night when/if it gets released on cable/satellite. -P.F.
James Dial (Snipes) is a retired Assassin and is asked to do one more
job in London, but when he does it, he discovers he is accused of
murder and his own people are trying to kill him. This can't be good.
There was nothing on the shelf and I saw this one and said, "Oh, no, not another Wesley Snipes movie. Going to be nothing new in there." How wrong I was. This is a terrific movie and a big step up for Mr. Snipes.
Good stunts, dialogue, cinematography and the acting was excellent by all. Now there is a newcomer in this and her name is Eliza Bennett as Emily. She is the reason this movie is a step above the usual Wesley Snipes movies (actually, they are all pretty good). Morgan Fairchild is a very good actress and she can make me laugh when she laughs and cry when she cries, and this Eliza Bennett is another Morgan Fairchild. Check her out.
Violence: Yes, Sex: No, Nudity: No, Language: Yes, some f-bombs toward the end
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