Lionel Mark Smith

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Spartan Review


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What is the man behind such parlor-room films as The Winslow Boy and House of Games doing directing an explosive military thriller, complete with airdrops and sniper rifles? And starring Val Kilmer? Trust me: Give Spartan ten minutes, and you'll stop asking such stupid questions.

David Mamet's latest project is far from conventional fare, and ultimately that works in his favor. From the opening scene, where two soldiers pursue each other through a jungle, Mamet keeps us guessing. What kind of movie are we watching? Within about 10 minutes, the bones of the story are made clear: the president's daughter (Kristen Bell) has been kidnapped from her dorm room, and the Secret Service pulls out all the stops to get her back. That includes recruiting special operations soldier Robert Scott (Val Kilmer), an uncannily capable military man who's as intuitive with people and motives as he is skilled with weapons.

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What is the man behind such parlor-room films as The Winslow Boy and House of...

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