Film Review of SPARTAN

Tired of seeing movies with no plot-lines and predictable endings? Have I got the action thriller for you. "Spartan" is definitely not a "Wait-for-video" film. You'll want to see this movie on the big screen so that you can get sucked into all the action. "Spartan" grabs you from the first scene and doesn't let you go until the closing credits. It has a subtle wit and at times the story flirts with a false sense of typical film cliche's. However, just when you think predictability is sneaking into the action there's a twist and your traveling down a different story line.

Robert Scott (played by VAL KILMER whom you probably remember from such movies as "The Saint," "Batman Forever" and "Real Genius") is a career military officer working in a highly secretive special operations force. A man hardened by years of brutal service, he is respected by his peers and elders in the world of espionage.

When Scott is recruited to find Laura Newton (KRISTEN BELL), the daughter of a high-ranking government official, he is paired with novice Curtis who becomes his protege. (Curtis is played by DEREK LUKE who did a phenomenal job in the lead role of "Antwone Fisher.") Working with a special task force comprised of Presidential Advisors, the Secret Service, FBI and CIA, Scott and Derek stumble upon a white slavery ring, which may have some connection to Laura's disappearance.

If you like Hitchcock and have enjoyed such movies as "Spy Games", "Marathon Man" and "The Assignment," don't miss this film. "Spartan" is the best spy thriller I've seen in a long time.

The film has a great cast including ED O'NEILL (Al Bundy from "Married with Children") and Oscar winner WILLIAM H. MACY ("Fargo" and most recently "The Cooler" another good movie, but just as good on video). I had a chance to ask Ed "What was your favorite part of working on this film?" Without hesitation he said "Working with Dave." He was speaking of DAVID MAMET the writer and producer of "Spartan." If you're wondering why that name sounds familiar, he also created "Wag the Dog," "Glengarry Glen Ross," Hannibal," "The Heist" and many other films you've most likely enjoyed.

The acting, cinematography, and editing was a pleasure to watch, however the performer you're gonna want to keep your eye on is Kristen Bell who played the role of the kidnaped daughter. Wow. What a performance. She was only on the screen for a few moments, but she made an impression. Expect to see her steady climb up the "A List" latter.

In a town where fewer and fewer good films are being made and every other film is either a re-make or a sequel, "Spartan" is a breath of fresh air telling us there's still hope in Hollywood. It's fast-paced suspense is flawless. Even fellow film goer Lisa Moody of the Los Angeles Film Teachers Association told me she was going to recommend "Spartan" to students as an example of how not to give the plot of a movie away in the first 15 minutes.   While your at it, Lisa, have them watch the film "Gods and Generals" too. A perfect example of how not to make a film, but don't make them watch more than an hour. Making someone sit through more than 20 minutes of that film is just pure sadistic.

So, if you're looking for an entertaining film that doesn't tell you to hate Jews and doesn't make you watch a 2 hour torture scene (ie; "The Passion") , "Spartan" is money well spent. My recommendation? Take a break from your brain and let "Spartan" guide you on a ride into thrilling suspense and action adventure.

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