Monday, August 09, 2004

Film: Spartan

Spartan 5/5 March 14, 2004.

This is an extraordinary, taut, political espionage thriller. It kept me guessing and totally involved.

Val Kilmer plays a special ops trainer called in to recover the kidnapped daughter of the President. Her captors just see her as a beautiful blonde and don't know who she is. She's one of the many blondes kidnapped and brought to the Arab gulf states to be a sex slave.

Without giving away the plot, I'll just say that on the surface, this appears to be a ho-hum, cookie-cutter film. It isn't. None of the acting is overdone (well, just one secret service person). Kilmer plays an understated role where he doesn't smile, act cocky and look like a famous actor. This contributes to the believability to the film. Lesser films require such star quality. Spartan also doesn't rely on gadgets, stunts, car chases or silly fighting. The action isn't non-stop, but well-placed. It caused me to jump a couple of times.

This is better than The Recruit, Basic and Spygame, and while less of a spectacle than the last James Bond film, it's more engrossing.

This film is on its second day in Winnipeg, and although its only playing at Polo Park, the theatre was about half empty. It's too bad the studio doesn't believe there is a large enough market for this superb film.

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