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
At the end of the film, you see a heftier Val Kilmer with a beard watching the television with a man in London. This was because Kilmer had gained the weight and look he would need for his next film, Alexander in working with Director Oliver Stone again soon after. See more »
The shipping container that is supposed to take Laura Newton back to the US is a type used only for land and sea freight. Because of its weight, it would never be used for air transport. See more »
You had your whole life to prepare for this moment. Why aren't you ready?
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Directed well, some good acting, but certainly not flawless Mamet
David Mamet's Spartan had me leaving the theater thinking 'yeah, it was a good movie, some things I didn't understand'. Perhaps that's Mamet's intention- he's one of the reigning rulers of writers who use calculated, cool twists in storytelling- but I felt the moments in the film where I wasn't surprised so much by the turns taken. Not to say Spartan doesn't have some surprises (a few elements, such as a couple of deaths and a revelation or two which I won't put down here), and as a visual storyteller I got involved in the tension building with Val Kilmer's situation.
Kilmer, playing both mentor to training rangers and "worker-bee" to the United States government's special op's, is put on the case of the kidnapping of the President's daughter. It needs to be solved before the media grabs it, but it may not be that easy. Kilmer's Scott is a little more distant in tone and style sometimes, thinking of things to say to people that could border on a hack's cliche, yet Mamet isn't unforgivable in all the dialog. What dissapointed me were some of his choices in shots - he's not always as subtle as you might've thought in his cut-aways and use of music. While this is different territory in subject matter (dealing with a thriller on a political, topical scale), some of the tricks Mamet was pulling seemed stagey, and more predictable than he's known for.
Should people rush to theatres to see Spartan? Depends- for fans of Kilmer there's a lingering aura of understatement, concern, of a character who has been following rules his whole life, and it's not that bad. Derek Luke is a formidable supporting presence. Ed O'Neill strikes up some dramatic credit amid his post-Married with Children days. William H. Macy could've deserved a little more screen time to emphasize his importance to the story. And Kristen Bell is believable as the torn daughter. The script isn't rapid fire Mamet in delivery and tone, so it is at a pace that will dissapoint those who are looking for non-stop thrills. Maybe my grade is un-fair- the material does seek to be seen again- but I just didn't get that it was top-shelve stuff. B
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