Every film Roger Ebert has given a four-star rating. This is an ongoing project.
U.S. government agent Scott is assigned to rescue the daughter of a high-ranking government official. As willing as he is to bend the rules to get things done, though, Scott is shocked to find that others are willing to go even further to protect a political career.
A remarkably emotionally cool thriller where a less bloated Kilmer starts looking for the damsel in distress of the day, you got it, the president’s daughter.
It plays out like a bad episode of 24 or Homeland meets Taken, and while the acting is on par, it’s totally let down by ridiculous dialogue (coming from Mamet’s pen btw) and a complete lack of any bond between the viewer and the characters.
A ripsnorting-ly fast paced thriller with zero hand-holding and a cast fully committed to delivering Mamet's unique writing. Spartan is an underrated gem, one that has sailed under the radar of a lot of film fans and one that should be essential viewing to anybody attempting to make a spy thriller. What makes Spartan so great is that it doesn't treat its audience like an idiot, the plotting is tight and contains not a trace of fat or exposition. It is an impressive effort.
"I was raised by wolves."
It's hard not to look at Spartan and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and wonder what Val Kilmer's doing co-starring in direct-to-video garbage with 50 Cent. He's excellent as a no-nonsense military man brought in to track a missing girl. David Mamet writes and directs this twisty thriller that boasts both his usual ear for dialogue and which moves to its own rhythm, starting and stopping and starting again, just when you think it's over. An excellent supporting performance by Derek Luke as Kilmer's novice assistant rounds one of the most satisfying and unjustly overlooked thrillers of the last decade.
Val Kilmer is really good but the film as a whole left me cold. There is not much to latch onto in terms of emotional connections. The realistic approach was great though. No big action scenes - they are gone in a flash and hit hard.
Pay attention because Spartan will not wait for you.
This film is tremendous. Tight direction, Mamet’s signature dialogue (and actors that can deliver it), and a balls-out pace make this a great watch. It is quick, gritty, and smart.
It is a crime that this is not available on Blu-ray.
Quick thoughts: confusing, dialogue is TERRIBLE (what is with everything being repeated? why is everything repeated? <--- kind of example of how terrible the dialogue is), and even Kilmer's acting couldn't carry this one through to the end.
"Yeah, I always knew you Marines were a weepy buncha motherfuckers."
"I got something in my eye."
Every re-watch inches me a little closer to thinking it's Mamet's best.
The actors ham it up from time to time but still a pretty good movie.
Couldn't even finish this. Why do people like David Mamet?
At once a down-and-dirty genre exercise and an almost laser-focused portrait of determination. Mamet seems to lose interest in the last ten minutes or so, but overall Spartan delivers solid excitement and intrigue through cryptic dialog and crisp action.
I'm a big fan of David Mamet, but Spartan is kind of shit and reactionary - a standard "president's daughter kidnapped" thriller that's shrouded in darkness, possibly so that generic thriller tropes don't find it if they come calling, until its finale at least. It's particularly anti-government and adoring of intelligence agencies and special ops, fetishishing their brutality as a kind of admirable masculine power in a way that points to the right-wing tendencies Mamet would come out with in the coming years. Intriguingly, in those ten years since Spartan he has only directed a further two films, and you can cite a similar figure for the amount of half-decent flicks Val Kilmer's lent his name and considerable girth to. Kilmer is, at least, very good here, and Mamet is incapable of writing dialogue that doesn't crackle. William H. Macy, as he so often is, is shamefully underutilised.
Love this film. Easily Val Kilmer's last good film.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Can we pretend this is just Gay Perry from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang before he relaxed a lil. Oh baby, we can.
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