Metascore
60

Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 33 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: This political thriller stars Val Kilmer as career military officer working in a highly secretive special operations force that uncovers a white slavery ring.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. When he's good, Mr. Mamet is very good indeed, and Spartan stands with the best work he's done. It's fast-moving, unpredictable, and as tautly, tightly wound as thrillers get.
  2. 80
    Using simplicity as another form of deception, Mamet lays out a hand of three-card monte for the audience to see, then tricks it into guessing falsely. In this case, it's worth getting fooled out of a little cash.
  3. 75
    The movie worked for me both as a commentary on the electoral process and as a slightly overcooked thriller.
  4. Spartan is a character study embedded in an action-hero scenario. Neither aspect ever really breaks loose.
  5. Just cryptic enough to keep you guessing, and for some viewers that may qualify as a night out. But Mamet's gamesmanship was more fun when it was less eager to look important.
  6. 50
    Imagine David Mamet rewriting his political satire "Wag the Dog" -- in which a president and his advisers declare war to distract the media from the prez's horn-dog activities -- as a joke-free kidnap drama.
  7. The heroes (Kilmer, Derek Luke) are all totally good, the villains (Ed O'Neill, William H. Macy) are all totally bad, and the macho one-liners are sufficiently adolescent to produce the desired snickers. I tried very hard to imagine I was somewhere else.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 16
  2. Negative: 2 out of 16
  1. GBJ
    Aug 27, 2005
    10
    This is a movie for planners, not shooters. Mamet and Kilmer are at the top of their game here, opening the puzzle box bit by bit. The film This is a movie for planners, not shooters. Mamet and Kilmer are at the top of their game here, opening the puzzle box bit by bit. The film perfectly captures the tempo and temper of special ops, political power plays, and media hysteria. Expand

See all 16 User Reviews

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