The Contractor (Video 2007) Poster

(2007 Video)

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Snipes was awake!! Yay! Thank Eliza Bennett for that.
supertom-33 July 2007
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
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Not a bad film to rent, but not for the video collection
jermzhi16 July 2007
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.

So either

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.
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Fun but dumb
p-stepien9 July 2009
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.
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A decent action movie. A comeback for Snipes
theoriginallemartin4 June 2007
Warning: 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 him.

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).
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A surprisingly human movie. Better than most of the genre
siderite19 June 2008
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.
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Too ridiculous to be much fun
rlange-322 August 2007
Warning: 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.
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So bad I had to write a review and issue a fair warning!
Quasi-919 June 2007
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.
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Not if it ain't an action movie
shushens4 July 2008
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.
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Not Bad, Not Great, But Not bad...
roopaui4 July 2007
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.
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crap - If you have a good mind don't waste it on this film...
cs_weaver12 March 2008
This film was horrible. The script is COMPLETELY unrealistic yet it is written to take place in the real-world, the editing and lighting effects are worse than most first projects in film school.

I do not recommend this film to anyone who: A) knows any detail about the world of police or covert operations. B) knows any detail about film making or appreciation.

I do recommend this film to the average or below-average mind, I think it would be enjoyable if I was a dumber. If you must watch this film on a full mind, I highly recommend some kind of inebriation

It is a total waste of what little production value it has.
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A Thriller with Heart
bob-rutzel-114 July 2007
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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chrichtonsworld24 June 2007
As an action/thriller this movie fails miserably! The plot almost is similar to that of "Shooter" with Mark Wahlberg! Only there are less action scenes and well the plot is pretty predictable! Snipes does an OK job! I do think it is a shame that once the great Snipes is reduced to playing roles like these! He sure has a presence and good acting skills! In DTV movies like these he will never be able to show his full potential! But I guess he doesn't have much choice! He also has to pay bills like any other man! The real surprise in "The Contractor" is the relationship between Eliza Bennett and Snipes! It was heartwarming and seemed sincere! It was like Snipes wanted to show us that he is capable of more than just playing though guys! "The contractor" is decent and adequate for a TV movie and shows that Snipes is in good form! I do hope that "Gallowwalker" will put him back at the top of Hollywood where he belongs!
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bad (real bad) in a comical, yet new way
frank-burch2 August 2007
haha! you have to just smile and smile if you actually made it all the way through this movie. it like says something about myself i guess. the movie itself was created i think as some sort of psychological test, or like some sort of drug, to take you to a place you have never been before. When Wittgenstein wrote his famous first philosophical piece the tractacus (sp?) he said it was meaningless and useless, but if you read it, after you were done, it would take you to a new level, like a ladder, and then you could throw away the work and see things with clarity and true understanding. this movie is the same i think.

As a movie it is without a doubt, the worst movie i have seen in a long long time in such a unique way. first of all, this is snipes. i loved watching this guy kick ass in various movies. and i have suffered through a few weak ones. however, although you know the movie might suck, you would never suspect that it could be as bad as it actually was. which is the fun of it. i mean this is snipes. you know it might be good, but it will be alright, right? smile.

so this thing on every level is pure boredom, pure unoriginality. the reference to the professional is both dead on and obvious, yet so poorly done as to be comical. there is not one character in this movie that is interesting, in the least. and to make the whole thing more surreal, they have a soundtrack that sort of sounds like parts to various Bourne identity type movies, only isn't quite right. in fact, although it seems close to action movie background music, it just so happens it is done in a manner that will grate on you fantastically.

then all the scenes in the total pitch black, where honestly since the characters are so flat, you don't really care whats going to happen, but regardless, after it happens and someone is killed, you just say to yourself, was i supposed to see that? what else? how about scenes with blinding, obnoxious flashing at a strobe lights pace, for a period of time that is too long to bear. sure let's throw that in. how bout this though. when you are straining and your eyes cant handle it any longer, do some more of these in the dark kills where you really don't see what happened. and on top of that, lets face it you don't care. you were past bored way from the beginning.

so i drifted in and out a couple times, but i caught almost all of this movie. and it becomes something you can watch, without something that engages your mind on any level, therefore, it becomes something you can effectively zone out with, and begin to think about your life, where its going, where its been, what we are as people.

and that... that is the true magic of this film.
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"The Contractor" is the best DTV Snipes movie yet.
tarbosh2200012 May 2010
"The Contractor" is the best DTV Snipes movie yet.

The plot: Agent James Dial (Snipes) has to take out a target in London. It goes as planned, but the police and his former employers are after him.

The movie has a good mix of action and drama. Snipes (finally) looks interested in the material and it shows. Lena Headey and Charles Dance also have their time to shine too. It's fast-paced and suspenseful. I think it's better than the similar titled\plotted "Shooter" with Mark Wahlberg. "The Contractor" was actually called "Shooter" but it was changed for obvious reasons.

In the end: I'm excited to report that "The Contractor" is worth seeing and not the usual piece of DTV junk that Snipes has foisted upon us in the past.

For more insanity, check out:
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I have quite a few Snipes against this movie
movieman_kev14 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Ex-CIA spook James Dial (Wesley Snipes) finds himself in over his head after being called back to do a job to assassinate Jahar, a terrorist, that he botched up when he attempted years prior, only to see said job blow up in his face due to circumstances out of his control. He finds himself on the run from the head of the very same organization that has hired him, as well as the British police, with the only friend in this catastrophe being a 13 year old girl who he finds at the safehouse assigned to him.

Horrible direction, unsympathetic characters and a script that leaves one wanting (to put it mildly) hampers an otherwise serviceable, if dully predictable film. Think of it as "Leon" for idiots if you will, but i'd rather not think of it at all.
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"The Contractor" Fuels One of my Worst Flick Fears
im_veritas_photo21 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I once used Wesley Snipes' name as a clue to go ahead and watch a new, untried film in which he appears. So now, for the first time, my Snipes-Method of film recommendation has failed. Utterly. I should first have come here to see these reviews.

Snipes ought to be ashamed to allow his otherwise earnest efforts to be so wasted in "The Contractor".

One of my worst flick fears has come to bitter fruition. I feared that the shaky, blurry, pseudo-documentary, "unconsidered" directing and editing style (first brought to my attention by the Paul Greengrass-directed "Bloody Sunday") might propagate to other films. Greengass' sickening style was then brought to nauseatingly new heights in the last two of the Bourne trilogy films. My fear had come to pass. In my opinion, these films are made really bad by these motion-sickness-inducing methods, which mistake blurry swipes for "action-enhancement". But the "Bourne Franchise," as Greengrass so loving calls his cash cow, apparently convinced others in Hollywood to go unprofessional in the quest for fast, big bucks.

Read my lips, you Hollywood types. Action needs to be clearly photographed and presented, not merely hinted at by poor, lazy cinematographic techniques.

And "The Contractor" goes so far as to emulate "The Bourne Ultimatum" in inanely-repeated sound bites, in hopes their juvenile (apparently-evaluated) audiences can't sense them. For example, if I hear a cop radio crackling "Yankee-Romeo" one more time, I'll just scream. The chances are good I won't hear it again: I certainly won't ever view "The Contractor" again.

I recommend to those of you who have yet to see "The Contractor": just be content with the tranquility this lack affords to your life.

2 out of 10; I am tempted to lower that to a 1.
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Not good, I would advise avoiding
ash-art22 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Don't really know where to start with one of the worst films I have had the displeasure to watch in a very long time. From the setting which was quite obviously and very clear to anyone who has visited London for even 1 day will agree...was not London. To the much unexplained way how Snipe's character managed to escape the country back to the US without a single problem. Then he convinces the girl and grandmother to visit him in America, how on earth did Grandma agree to that...he's an assassin! Well that's the ending how about during the film, well unfortunately that didn't fare much better. We have British cops driving an amazing range of cars, I'm sure it was an eighties Vauxhall Belmont which chased the taxi after the assignation, but a modern Subaru Imprezza escorting the prison van in a few scenes prior. SO19 or whoever the gun toting arm of the Met they were trying to portray was happily running around the streets with their guns out chasing after Snipe's along with the CIA. There were children walking around, but the police were still stating they had a clear shot to shoot him, does this happen in London? No it doesn't, I live there. We also have the very implausible travel from central London to the airport (let's say Heathrow for arguments sake) within 5 minutes of receiving a call. We also have terrible American accents, a young girl who's posher than the Queen, but lives in Elephant & Castle. What does it say for British police when helicopters and a number of officers at Snipe's location can't find Snipe's and he manages to evade capture by hiding behind some stairs? The train station was obviously not even on UK soil and the fight scene sound effects were terrible. The plot was also extremely poor, boring and been written and filmed a lot better a thousand times before. But there were a few notable actors cast in this film, what were they thinking and please don't let that sway you to watch this film! This film didn't seem to know what it wanted to be, if you are going to concentrate on the dramatic aspects from the aftermath of an assignation then you need a strong rigid plot with plausible scenery and setting, this is something the viewer has time to take in and appreciate and if you do it wrong then you notice it. If you want an all out action film (which this is not) then continuity and scenery can be put to the side.
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Implausible Thriller
Theo Robertson22 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The problem with THE CONTRACTER is summed up by the opening scene . The CIA want an international terrorist dead so contact black ops assassin James Dial . The terrorist is appearing at the Old Bailey court in London which begs the question why do they want to bump off a terrorist if he's going to spend the rest of his life in jail ? He's going to be out of circulation either way . Didn't the CIA have a chance before he was arrested ? If by some chance he gets a not guilty verdict then kill him . There's no logical reason to kill someone who is going to spend life in a maximum security prison

Since the premise sets up the story an audience might be choose to ignore the plot hole but the assination itself pours fuel upon the fire . Dial's colleague is killed by a police bullet and the taxi they're driving in crashes but Dial manages to escape . So the police were close enough to shoot someone but too far away to apprehend someone from a car crash ? The film of this type of plot connivance . Later Dial finds a police inspector pointing a gun at him saying " this airport is surrounded by armed coppers " yet Dial manages to escape very easily without explanation . The whole film cheats its audience by relying on things that are never explained . This includes an important supporting character called Emily Day . Why does she help Dial even though he's a wanted fugitive ? Your guess is as good as mine

This is a fairly poor thriller and don't be taken in by the " big name " cast . Wesley Snipes used to qualify as a film star but killed his career by starring in more and more inconsequental films . Charles Dance also appeared in big budget Hollywood productions such as LAST ACTION HERO and ALIEN 3 but again he's someone best known for appearing in straight to DVD fare these days , and he's basically playing a cameo role anyway . The likes of Lena Headey may go on to become big players in cinema but they'l certainly fail to put THE CONTRACTER on their resume
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Do not go to this movie!!!!
flash_b16 July 2007
Just a warning... This is the worst movie I have seen in years... I couldn't watch it to the end... It is a pure waste of time... I really feel sorry for Snipes that he ended up in such a movie. There really is not much to say about it. Horrible acting, incredibly bad lines, story, everything. The only reason I would advise you to watch this movie is if you really want to see how a movie shouldn't be. Just to tell you one scene: the police are searching for Snipes, and they are surrounding the building with helicopters and cars, they are shooting around inside the building, but still they are whispering so that Snipes doesn't suspect a thing.
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Stay away!
artistanbul15 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
After watching this I thought to myself, there are either too few good writers & directors or lots of producers.

At any rate, this is a terrible movie. Terrible in a way that it's not fun, but rather makes you grit your teeth and quiver. Makes you shout "this is wrong" at the movie. Immersion is zero. By now most of you are probably used to the terrible errors/weirdness-es in movies that has computers hackers etc. in them. This movie is like that in every aspect.

The only good thing about the movie is the little girl Emily, brilliantly played by Eliza Bennett. I hope she becomes big, and make this ..thing at least worth something.

Do yourself a favor. Don't watch this. There is not even proper action in it. Total waste of time.
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Excellent Movie, Despite Its Flaws
stevendecastro19 August 2016
Whether it is the masterful editing or the all-around great acting, this movie is vastly underestimated. Since I have seen it several times, I am well aware that the director Josef Rusnak has left some critical loose ends, but the movie was saved by the cinematography of Wedigo Von Shultendorf and editor James Herbert, both of whom have better credits the Rusnak.

There are many loose ends in the plot which lead the viewer nowhere. For example, the superintendent,inspecting a crime scene, draws our gaze by closely examining a shard of glass, but that evidence is completely irrelevant. Later, the protagonist is warned that he is walking into an ambush, walks into it anyway, for no reason.

But the greatness of the movie lies, first, in the flash-forward editing style that was pioneered by Tony Scott in Man on Fire, and second, on the wonderful performances of Wesley Snipes, Eliza Bennet, and Lena Headey. This movie is a jewel in the rough.
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Dull and derivative
Leofwine_draca14 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Wesley Snipes has transformed himself from a box office star into a B-movie action hero, joining the ranks of Seagal and Van Damme in turning out straight-to-DVD thrillers in a bid to make a buck or too. This one was filmed in Eastern Europe and Wales, although the action is supposedly set in London.

Right from the start, you know there are two things wrong with this movie: the script and the direction. The script is a cobbled-together rehash of different movies. The film starts off as a SHOOTER rip-off, going so far as including an absolutely hilarious "chase" scene in a London cab that's going about ten miles an hour. It then turns into LEON, with Snipes hiding out in a disused flat and a little girl looking after him. After some conspiracy stuff the movie kind of falls apart and there's about two or three action scenes until it ends. Definitely no thrills.

The direction is uninspired, with lame attempts at Greengrass-style shaky-cam work (so wonderfully employed in the last two Bourne films) and super-fast editing in an attempt to hide the paucity of the budget. One shoot-out uses strobe lighting just to hide the lack of talent/props/scenery evident. Snipes, an actor who can trade on plentiful charisma if not acting talent, sleepwalks through his role, and even the kid – usually a focus point for the audience's emotion in a film like this – is dull. Surprisingly, they enlisted a couple of well-known actors in support, including pretty Lena Heady (given a boring cop role) and Charles Dance, who never seems too sure of what he's doing here. Ralph Brown (ALIEN 3) is better as the corrupt bad guy, but it's nothing to get excited about.

So, barely any action, ridiculous continuity, an unbelievable rip-off script, lots of boring drawn-out scenes…yep, this is another straight-to-DVD disaster that isn't worth your while.
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Decent enough low budget thriller
Tweekums20 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
James Dial used to be a CIA hit man but now he is living a peaceful life in rural Montana; that is until his old boss, Collins, asks him to do a job; taking out a terrorist he failed to kill in a previous operation. The target is in custody in London and Dial will only have a matter of seconds to take the shot while the man is taken into court. Inevitably things don't go according to plan; the target is taken out but as Dial leaves the scene his driver is shot and killed by the police. Injured, he manages to get to a safe house. Inevitably he has been caught on CCTV and the police are searching for him; as are his erstwhile employers… and they don't want him arrested they want him dead. In the safe house he befriends Emily, a twelve year old orphan living with her grandmother; she becomes the only person he can trust. The police officer in charge of the case catches up with Dial but is killed by Collins; now Dial is wanted for two murders and it isn't long before both the police and Collin's rogue unit are closing in on him.

If it hadn't been for the bright orange box I might not have picked up this DVD; once it had got my attention I thought the cast list looked impressive so I thought I'd give it a go despite not recognising the title. It turned out to be rather fun. Wesley Snipes puts in a decent performance as Dial. Those expecting lots of martial arts and physical action from him may be a little disappointed but I thought the lack of obvious toughness made his character feel more vulnerable which suited the story of a man on the run. The supporting cast a pretty good too; Ralph Brown made a good bad guy without being over the top… he played the role as though Collins genuinely thought of himself as a patriot serving his country rather as somebody who knows they are wrong but doesn't care. Eliza Bennett was likable as Emily, Charles Dance brought some gravitas to the proceeding… despite getting killed on rather early on and Lena Headey was decent enough as the police woman who ends up leading the investigation.

There are faults of course; the story is somewhat cliché for starters and there are too many implausible moments to count. We have London police officers firing fully automatic weapons in the street; Dial evades capture in a way that seems most unlikely then at the end he just leaves the country despite the fact that the police know he murdered somebody! The action is okay but not the best; I have no idea why one scene involved strobe lighting apart from perhaps the director thought it looked cool. Overall this isn't a must see film, even if you are a fan of Snipes, but it is a fun enough way to pass an hour and a half.
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A somewhat different type of hit man movie....
Lunaroseice23 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was not what I expected from Wesley Snipes. I started to get disappointed. But the more I watched, the more I realize that it was mis-marketed.

It is not an action movie so much as a movie that has some action in it. The dialogue is sparse which means the actors really have to work that much harder. Directing wasn't that bad but the shoot-out with strobe lights was a poor idea. The longer I watched, the more I wondered if this is actually a British film rather than an American. The tone was much different.

This movie deserves a better rating than people have given it. Try watching it without thinking of it as an action movie and you may like it more. It is really an excellent film.
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Routine but entertaining
neil-47622 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Government assassin Wesley Snipes is set up by his own covert ops organisation (he really should have known better, didn't he see Shooter?), and ends up on the run in London pursued by his own organisation and the Metropolitan Police, with help from troubled teenager Emily.

Notwithstanding the fact that the story is very familiar, it is presented with some panache. Snipes can play this role in his sleep, of course, and pretty much does so. Bulgaria does a pretty good impression of seedy south London. There is a nice, if unlikely, wrinkle in Charles Dance's relationship with his police officer daughter, and the action bashes along satisfactorily.

On the negative side there is a gun battle early on during which the Metropolitan Police spray automatic weapon fire all over the place in a way which would simply not happen (even the controversial de Menezes killing didn't involve indiscriminate discharge in public of automatic weapons).

But on a positive note - a very strongly positive note - there is a fabulous performance from Eliza Bennett. She acts Snipes off the screen, and her performance - naturalistic, humorous and powerfully touching - raises this movie to a higher level than its otherwise rather pedestrian nature would have taken it to.
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