Release Date: March 12, 2004

Are we certain this isn't low budget porn?

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
30/55 Reagen Sulewski Average Mamet, but above-average Kilmer.
32/92 David Mumpower The Simpsons quote that applies here is, "We don't understand it, so it must be very good."
68/126 Kim Hollis Really a pretty decent, compelling mystery.

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The good news: this is not another tired SNL spinoff movie revolving around Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri's delusional cheerleader characters. The bad news: this is a Val Kilmer movie involving a prostitution ring in which Western teenagers are kidnapped and sold into foreign sexual slavery. (Such stories almost always being a cheap mixture of middle class pearl clutching and thinly disguised titillation.)

In Spartan, Kilmer plays Robert Scott, a bad ass special ops/espionage type who is recruited for a special multi-agency task force formed to investigate the kidnapping of the daughter of a "high ranking" governmental figure (implied, but not explicitly stated to be the President of the United States). Derek Luke, best known for the titular role in Antwone Fisher, plays Curtis, the obligatory idealistic, wet-behind-the-ears newbie who is partnered with Robert. If way too many years of moviegoing experience tells us anything, the newbie will probably have a cute, pregnant wife and die tragically in his mentor Kilmer's arms at the end of the second act. Though since David Mamet wrote the screenplay, I suppose we're more likely to have the cute, pregnant wife sleeping with the lead kidnapper and then shooting poor Derek Luke herself in a dramatic third act double cross. In any event, I'm completely making all that "tragic death" stuff up, so put away your pitchforks and torches you crazy spoiler nazis.

Now if you've seen the trailer, you know about the previously mentioned "white slavery" ring. (Let's just all sit and ponder how obnoxious the term "white slavery" is for a minute now. Shouldn't "slavery" be a suffiently horrible concept on its own without reference to whiteness?) Anyway, from the trailer, you also know that the investigation is called off midway through amidst reports that the kidnapped girl has been found dead. Although Robert is just as happy to move on, young Curtis is convinced that the girl is still alive and begins to suspect....wait for it..........a Governmental Conspiracy that Goes All the Way to the Top! BOP (and Mamet) favorite William H. Macy plays one of the potential governmental conspirators. (Jennifer Turnock/BOP)

Vital statistics for Spartan
Main Cast Val Kilmer, Kristen Bell, William H. Macy
Supporting Cast Derek Luke, Alexandra Kerry, Johnny Messner, Tia Texada
Director David Mamet
Screenwriter David Mamet
Distributor Warner Bros.
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating R
Running Time 106 minutes
Screen Count 832
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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