A fateful event leads to a job in the film business for top mixed-martial arts instructor Mike Terry. Though he refuses to participate in prize bouts, circumstances conspire to force him to consider entering such a competition.
Following the theft of a postal-order, a fourteen-year old cadet is expelled from Naval College. To save the honour of the boy and his family, the pre-eminent barrister of the day is engaged to take on the might the Admiralty.
In the US-government's special ops, Scott is a shooter, not a planner, doing the job without regard to quaint or obsolete convention. When a Harvard undergrad goes missing (the daughter of a US leader), it's Scott who applies the pressure, first to her boyfriend, then to a madam whose cathouse is the initial stop en route to a white slavery auction in Dubai. The abductors may not know the girl's identity, but once they figure it out, she's doomed. Deadly double crosses force Scott to become a planner. Through it all, earnest TV newscasters read the drivel they're handed.Written by
Excellent and intelligent. Not for Bruckheimer fans.
If you go by the plot, or by the casting (Val Kilmer's done his share of stupid actioners), you might well go into this expecting guns, explosions, and improbably ninja-esquire super-agents who parachute around and kill things with their teeth.
But this is Mamet, so what you get instead is a sort of weird emotional flatland for almost two hours of film, with Kilmer doing an excellent (Val KILMER? Whoa!) job of portraying what top-level soldier/drones are like: emotionally neutral, physically economical, and not always all that bright.
If you're looking for somebody hoisting a bazooka and wisecracking before he blows up the compound and saves the girl in the bikini while smashing the drug smuggling ring, this ain't your film, friend. It's very well written and extremely well acted, but also quiet, murky, and deliberately understated.
Don't expect whiz-bang excitement or crackerjack dialogue. If you can shelve that and put yourself in the frame of mind of a Kurosawa samurai movie, where contemplation and futility take equal time with action and excitement, you'll find this movie a lot more rewarding.
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