Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 23
  2. Negative: 3 out of 23
  1. 88
    A triumph of style over story, and of acting over characters.
  2. 88
    This little-hyped thriller emerges as a dark-horse winner by reminding us of how pleasurably exciting a popcorn movie can be when it's populated by actors who are in it for more than an exorbitant fee.
  3. The Negotiator, once it gets going (there's a rather lengthy prosaic setup), is a satisfyingly tense and booby-trapped thriller about the meeting of two relentless minds.
  4. Reviewed by: Stephen Thompson
    80
    One of the best by-the-numbers thrillers you'll see this year, thanks to a hot-shot cast.
  5. 80
    This tough, crackling thriller from director Gary Gray is one of those rare action movies with something on its mind other than moviestar sneers and incessant big bangs.
  6. Reviewed by: Bruce Diones
    80
    F. Gary Gray, the young director of the 1996 female heist film "Set It Off," runs with a good script (by James DeMonaco and Kevin Fox) and gives us the summer's first action film that's as rich in character as it is in suspense.
  7. Reviewed by: John Haslett Cuff
    75
    From the film's bravura opening scene to its cute but bloody conclusion, The Negotiator plays out as tautly as any crowd-pleasing action flick since Die Hard,which it emulates with shameless glee.
  8. 75
    Once the initial setup has been accomplished and the film kicks into high gear, it grabs the viewer's attention and holds it for the rest of the running time.
  9. It's a measure of how pulsating and energetic a visual style director F. Gary Gray has, and how vividly actors Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey come across on screen, that this film is intensely watchable from minute to minute, even though a lot of what's happening doesn't stand up to a moment's scrutiny.
  10. Reviewed by: Ron Wells
    70
    Jackson gives an amazing, nuanced performance as he teeters on the edge of paranoia. Spacey gives a great, toned-down show as I guy who's in over his head trying to find out what the hell is going on.
  11. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    70
    It's amazing how a sense of humor can turn a formula film into a frolic.
  12. 70
    This taut crime thriller is a welcome antidote to brainless action extravaganzas in which the mayhem is the message, and rests on two shrewd, perfectly modulated performances.
  13. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    70
    The teaming of Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey, two of the most highly regarded actors around, in perfectly fitting roles that call for a battle of wits and wills, proves to be a shrewd piece of casting, and the best element of The Negotiator.
  14. Fortunately, Jackson and Spacey have enough sassy wit and crackling intensity between them to keep The Negotiator from becoming hostage to its own inanity.
  15. 67
    The Negotiator falls short of greatness by a country mile; it's too chatty for its own good sometimes. But it's still a solid shoot-'em-up.
  16. This is fairly efficient if you can square efficiency with being twice as long as necessary and overly familiar to boot; at least Jackson and Spacey keep it afloat.
  17. Though the film has its basis in an actual event that took place in St. Louis, it takes on the homogeneous look of many other thrillers in which an emergency escalates into a paramilitary operation.
  18. The movie has finesse, and the actors have charm, but there are no surprises.
  19. When the mystery is unraveled and the frame-up is revealed, I, personally, had no idea what anyone was talking about.
  20. 50
    Instead of the cat-and-mouse cogitations and psych-outs one might rightly expect from this high concept, we're fobbed off with a lot of sub-Die Hard theatrics and stinko plotting.
  21. A whodunit so bafflingly constructed that you can't even figure out what it is, so the whodun part is superfluous.
  22. The concept of dueling negotiators has strong dramatic potential, but Gray seems more interested in gimmicks and gunshots than in the psychological face-off between sharp-witted foes.
  23. 20
    The Negotiator slogs on for two hours and 20 minutes, and there's hardly a real laugh or a genuine thrill in it.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 40 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Jul 11, 2014
    10
    The Negotiator is a fantastic thriller with Samuel L. and Kevin Spacey. The movie has amazing suspense
    and the twists aren't decipherable
    The Negotiator is a fantastic thriller with Samuel L. and Kevin Spacey. The movie has amazing suspense
    and the twists aren't decipherable until the final scenes of the movie. The Negotiator is hugely underrated
    and it is one of the best movies of the 90's
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 8, 2014
    8
    The Negotiator starts off like the usual cop movie, showing the protagonist doing his job on some random situation. And in that respect, itThe Negotiator starts off like the usual cop movie, showing the protagonist doing his job on some random situation. And in that respect, it starts out cliché. But by the middle parts, the action heats up and the movie becomes very thrilling and intense, accompanied by a great musical score. And in the middle of all of this, the psychological battle between Spacey and Jackson is the best part. By the end, the movie doesn't take the usual cliché route, and some of the twists are ones you won't see coming. Full Review »
  3. Sep 2, 2013
    10
    I love this movie. You really get to know the characters and come to care for what can happen.This is Samuel L. Jackson at his finest. Alot ofI love this movie. You really get to know the characters and come to care for what can happen.This is Samuel L. Jackson at his finest. Alot of good actors in this movie besides him like Kevin Spacey who also does a nice job.The Negotiator is has plenty of action, and drama to go with a nice story. Full Review »