A compelling performance from Val Kilmer as a ginger-haired zen military superagent, on the trail of nasty Arab slavers who've accidentally kidnapped the President's daughter, can't quite save Spartan from writer-director David Mamet's baser self-cannibalising instincts.

Thus, an intriguing thriller loaded with brutal, noirish detective work is gradually subsumed by a truckload of hoary Mametian moral conundrums (to kill or not to kill?), scams within scams, telegraphed plot twists and a Miami Vice-inspired finale - - all delivered via his now trademark rat-a-tat dialogue: ""In the city it's always a reflection; in the woods always a sound!"" (Don't ask.) Still, this is meat and potatoes for fans of the hardboiled writer and if it grates, there's always Kilmer's charismatic turn to paper over the cracks.

Film Details

  • 15
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: February 21st 2005

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