Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Spartan (2004) [R] ****



Robert Scott (Val Kilmer) is a US Marine Corps officer, a member of a secret special operations group. He's tough, dedicated and willing to do what it takes to accomplish the mission. When the President's daughter Laura Newton (Kristen Bell) is abducted and is believed to be en route to a Middle Eastern kingdom to be sold as a sex slave, the Secret Service recruits Scott and his special ops group as critical members of the recovery team. But when the press releases the story that Laura may have evaded her protection in order to enjoy a weekend with her college professor on his yacht, and when their bodies are discovered washed up on shore and are positively identified, Scott grows suspicious, especially when his partner Curtis (Derek Luke) finds several clues and doubts the yachting accident story.

Scott and Curtis continue to pursue the investigation and Scott soon learns that there may be a deeper conspiracy involving the President himself, and that the two agents are now considered off the reservation with their own lives at risk.

Val Kilmer is outstanding as Scott. He has the same quality that Matt Damon exhibited in the Bourne film trilogy - toughness and preparedness for any eventuality, but also the ability to be surprised for an instant. Screenplay and direction by David Mamet are both excellent, and if you are a fan of David Mamet suspense films like House of Games and The Spanish Prisoner, you'll recognize the taut, sparse, quirky dialogue that keeps the viewer slightly off balance.

The cinematography and sets are appropriately dark, grainy and gritty; the supporting cast is outstanding, especially William H. Macy and Clark Gregg as Secret Service agents; the R-rating for violence and language is well deserved. If you enjoy David Mamet suspense films, or political conspiracy action thrillers like The Sentinel, Shooter or State of Play you will likely enjoy Spartan.  

Labels:  action, crime, drama, mystery, thriller

Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 60/100
Tomatometer (critics=64, viewers=59)

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