10 Years: “Spartan”

IMG_0282.JPGIt’s a strange occurrence when a film filled with well known actors and director can’t really deliver on what was promised. To make matters worse, the genre itself, isn’t even upheld in the slightest.

The Warner Bros. Pictures film “Spartan”, sounds interesting enough, but looks can be deceiving.

This crime thriller stars Val Kilmer (“Psych”, “Palo Alto”), Derek Luke (“Alex of Venice”, “Baggage Claim”), William H. Macy (“Shameless”, upcoming “Rudderless”), Kristen Bell (“Veronica Mars”, “Frozen”), Tia Texada (“Finding Hope Now”, “In Plain Sight”), and Ed O’Neill (“Modern Family”, “Wreck-It-Ralph”).

The film was written and directed by David Mamet (“Phil Spector”, “Redbelt”).

The film originally opened on March 12, 2004.

If this is supposed to be a thriller, it’s doing a bad job at keeping me interested, let alone thrilling me. Sure, if you read the plot summary you’ll know what this film is about, but if you just dive in and go, you’ll be mostly clueless. I couldn’t figure out who it was that was missing, and the characters never fully mentioned who was kidnapped. I will admit, that a part of me may just have missed this because the film itself gave me no reason to pay close attention or remember. Strangely, it’s not because of excessive length, but pacing and other developments.

The acting was just fine. Not bad, but certainly nothing even remotely special. This only led to me not caring about anyone, even the girl, Bell, who was missing and being sought after by law enforcement. Why was this? There was not an ounce of character development, or even characteristics that signify these are people you should care about in any, way, shape or form.

The story and the slow pacing annoyed me in a way I’m seldom annoyed. Things just kept moving from thing to thing without any real explanation as to why. Characters came in and out as well, and that didn’t help the story either.

When action happened, it was really fast and only slightly violent, but served nothing either.

A thriller, let alone a film, should be engaging and interesting. When you stumble upon a film, that only keeps you watching to see if the mystery can be resolved, you clearly have a problem. One should’ve just then read the Wikipedia entry to find out how things ended. I’m not a fan of just reading a summary like that, but I may now consider it if the film sounds fishy in some way.

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