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.
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
I'm a fan of David Mamet's movies (both his and the ones he wrote the screenplay for) . "House of games " is one of the best movies ever made. Mamet's other contributions to cinema are great too (including "The Untouchables " and "Ronin" ). So , I was curious about this one . This time Mamet tries a political action thriller. The result ? Surprise , but a bad one.
Mamet has always been a rather weak director . I admit that . Still , his flat sense of direction worked quite well in his movies , mostly because they were very theatrical from the nature of plot. Hell , I think that's why "House of games" has surrealistic , hypnotizing feel to it. The problem with "Spartan" is this is an action/thriller . All the action scenes here lack tension. They look like they were directed by amateur. The movie also never has any sense of entertainment . There isn't a moment when you feel that time is running out for our heroes.
What is more surprising is the rather bad plot . The story is very predictable and you don't have to be a genius to figure out most of the twists. Worse , some of the twists are rather forced (the sign , the scarecrow sitting on the chair when you need it ) . There is one really good twist at the end of movie , but on the other hand Mamet also throws a rather forced deus ex machina at the end.
The dialogue is also bad , very dour , very forgettable . It's surprising , because Mamet always crafts the dialogues very carefully . He knows how to write a stylish dialogue . Here the dialogues are purely informational.
The acting is good . Val Kilmer gives a really good performance , one of best in his entire career (along with "Tombstone" and "The Heat"). He plays his character just like he should (and could) play Batman all those years ago in "Batman forever" . Silent , brooding , tough and honorable. Kirsten Bell has a small , but good role in the movie . It was good to see Ed O'Neill ("Married with children") in a convincing serious role and William Macy is pleasure as always. Overall , the acting is the best thing in the movie.
I also like the bitter mood of the movie . The story here sadly feels like something that could happen in real life and it makes "Spartan" different than most Hollywood thrillers .
It doesn't change the fact that weak screenplay , bad dialogues and crappy direction make this one a misfire in Mamet's career . I give it 4/10.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this