Spartan DVD: Review By justincase

  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
Val Kilmer plays Robert Scott, a black-ops military specialist that is called-in to find the abducted daughter of a high-ranking government official. When the girl's body allegedly turns up floating in the ocean, the disappearance appears to be solved. Scott, though, can't rest when his rookie partner, Curtis (Derek Luke), shows up with proof that the body in the ocean wasn't the girl and that she's likely still alive. What follows is a turnabout story in classic Mamet style as Scott flaunts the authority of the U.S. political establishment to recover the girl... at all costs.

A solid ensemble cast including several of my favorites, Kilmer, William H. Macy, Ed O'Neill and decent work by Derek Luke, Kristen Bell and Tia Texada makes this pic worth a couple hours of your time. Mamet's style might get a bit long on this one...until the end, where it feels like they kind of wrapped it too quickly. It almost feels like they had to cut the production short, so they sent Kilmer in solo and tried to zip it up fast. I don't know. I guess I expected just a bit more from the last 20 minutes or so of this movie after all the set-up.

I'm not sure what happened to this movie in the theater. Just shy of $4.5 million in U.S. box office is almost so diappointing as to have been a "no-show" theatrically. I never really heard much about it or read anything in print. Ebert and Roeper gave it "Two Thumbs Way Up"... But isn't that what they say about everything these days?

Overall, Spartan is a good film that definitely paints the darker side of American political life and the manipulations of media and general public that go along therewith. I always like watching "special forces operators" operate and, well, this gave me just a taste of that. I could have used more, but this was a good couple hours of entertainment.
There aren't any special features on this disc. Kilmer does a star-turn in a commentary monologue, but it is pretty low-key.
A taught, special-ops political thriller that will keep you engaged -- and guessing. A good movie that, despite its non-existent box office performance, is well worth your rental dollar. You don't need to own it, but you might enjoy checking it out. You could do worse.

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