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Spartan (2004)

Val Kilmer , Ed O'neill , David Mamet  |  R |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Val Kilmer, Ed O'neill, William H. Macy
  • Directors: David Mamet
  • Producers: Elie Samaha, David Bergstein
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 15, 2004
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00022XE6S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,951 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Spartan" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

FBI. CIA. Secret Service. Black Ops. Robert Scott (Val Kilmer) is all of these. When he is recruited to find Laura, the daughter of a government official, Scott is paired with novice Curtis (Derek Luke). Scott and Curtis stumble upon a white slavery ring, which may have some connection to Laura's disappearance.

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:Commentary by Val Kilmer
Scene Access
Theatrical Trailer


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A taut, intelligent movie August 5, 2004
Format:DVD
I like David Mamet's screenwriting a lot, and his direction is good too. While this movie isn't his absolutely top-drawer material (_House of Games_, _Spanish Prisoner_), it's still way better than the usual run of 'political thrillers'.

If you know who Mamet is, you already know that his dialogue is lean, focused, and idiosyncratic to the point of surreality. You also know to expect a plot consisting of one mind-bending twist after another. This movie will meet your expectations.

It probably won't exceed them; as political films go, this isn't quite up to _Wag the Dog_ (another of Mamet's best screenplays). Its plot is actually -- for Mamet -- pretty straightforward: Laura Newton, the president's daughter, has disappeared, and super-duper Black Ops guy 'Scott' (Val Kilmer) is going to get her back.

By the time we're through we've been cycled through quite a bit of ruthlessness, cynicism, and unflattering revelations about political ambition. The direction is extraordinarily good -- and, for what it's worth, the deaths (of which there are many) are eerily realistic, not yer usual Hollywood screaming-bullets-and-exploding-cars BS. The ensemble cast is wonderful (particularly Kilmer).

But we don't really visit any new territory. For my taste there are a few too many cliches here -- which would be somewhat more acceptable if they were at least Mamet's _own_ cliches, but some of these are Tom Clancy's.

Nonetheless it's all handled deftly and intelligently, and it's miles above the usual run of political thrillers. I'm giving this one four stars by comparison with Mamet's other films, but compared to everything else it's a five-star movie.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Where is the girl?" July 22, 2004
By Cubist
Format:DVD
This oft-repeated line lies at the centre of Spartan, a political thriller from writer-director David Mamet. At the heart of this film is a mystery, one that the central character must solve and, in doing so, discover something about himself.

When the daughter (Bell) of the President of the United States goes missing, the Secret Service brings in Robert Scott (Kilmer) to investigate. He is one of those shadowy operatives with no name (of consequence) that does all of the government?s dirty business under the veil of secrecy and plausible deniability. He is assigned a young, inexperienced partner named Curtis (Luke). They have very little time before the media gets wind of what has happened. The two men go undercover and trace the young girl?s whereabouts to an international prostitution ring.

Scott is a typical Mamet protagonist in that he wastes few words and everything he says has meaning. Val Kilmer is a perfect fit for Mamet?s tough, no-nonsense world. He does a good job with Mamet?s tricky, distinctive dialogue. Much like Gene Hackman?s character in Heist, Kilmer?s Scott is efficient and ruthless in his methods because time is of the essence and his way gets results.

On paper, the film?s story is a conventional one?it belongs to the action-thriller genres?but Mamet flips all of the clich?s and stereotypes on their head with his unconventional dialogue and characterization. Every bit of dialogue and every action are important. This requires the utmost level of attention from the audience because if you miss something, the film does not slow down and allow you to catch up.

Mamet is a breath of fresh air in this politically correct climate in that he never sentimentalizes his characters or their situations.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing mystery for people who like to think February 26, 2005
Format:DVD
Spartan-Rigorously self-disciplined or self-restrained. Simple, frugal austere. Marked by brevity of speech, laconic. Courageous in the face of pain, danger, or adversity.

If you like Ronin then Spartan is choc-full of the same kind of cryptic dialogue with double/triple meanings and clever touches. Not surprising really since Spartan is written and directed by David Mamet who worked on the Ronin script.

When the President's daughter is kidnapped a strict, no-nonsense Secret-Secret Service agent (Val Kilmer) follows an intriguing trail of clues and dead-ends to find out where she is, who took her and why. Hardly sounds original but Spartan dares to do what very, very few Hollywood movies are willing to try; it assumes its audience actually have brains and can figure things out by themselves.

Spartan is the slickest, smoothest and smartest thriller for a good while. Kilmer has his critics and is constantly given a hard time. But here he proves what an actor he can be given the right material. Ed O'Neill also pops up and adds some post-Married With Children credibility to his resume.

Like Ronin, the action is stern and serious. There's nothing far-fetched or unbelievable about this. It may lack the epic feel of Ronin but Spartan is by no means a small movie. I strongly recommend this if you are tired of idiotic action movies and need a fix of something with some class.

The DVD is in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound and a commentary by Val Kilmer (should be interesting).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked, Unappreciated, Underrated. July 29, 2005
Format:DVD
What happened here? We have an outstanding script with a fine cast headed by Val Kilmer in an exciting, David Mamet thriller. In fact, particulary for the first 45 minutes, this is about as good as film making gets. Ed O'Neill, on screen less than half your popcorn bag, gives a top shelf performance. Derek Luke and Tia Texada provide strong support and William H Macy is incapable of giving a bad performance. This might be one those films that gets better appreciated, more highly rated and not overlooked as time goes by. Let's hope so!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An odd movie really, the 'hero' speaks in rhyme ...
An odd movie really, the 'hero' speaks in rhyme most of the time :) not sure why, but is works well for some reason.
Published 4 days ago by B. Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved It.
Published 11 days ago by Edward R. Greene
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 Stars
Great Movie! Outstanding in every way! No other words but F_____in GREAT! Every minute of it is so well written so well acted it is a mini master piece. Read more
Published 12 days ago by sean mcmahon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful
Published 19 days ago by Martin J Lawing
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Fair movie
Published 1 month ago by John V.
4.0 out of 5 stars A High Ranking Official's Daughter is Kidnapped. Only the Kidnappers...
Spartan, as a movie, is a tough call. The first part of the movie was a bit dry and felt sluggish. However, that soon changed. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Happy Camper
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem worth discovering
They don't come much better than this and I'm surprised it didn't receive better recognition. Good characters, well-cast, tricky plot and some of the best, crispest dialogue in the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dean Speir
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Kilmer can act well if he has a good film and good direction.
Published 1 month ago by S. Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Exactly what I was looking for!
Published 1 month ago by Robert Ameday
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
This film is really boring. The plot is thin: the president daughter is kidnapped and a special unit is assigned to get it back. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dan Ionescu
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