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Movie Review: Spartan

Alternate Title: Meager

Story: I am a big David Mamet fan and usually enjoy the challenges that go along with watching his films. That said, this time director and writer Mamet strikes out.

The absurd plot is filled with holes the size of chasms. Plausibility goes out the window about a third of the way through the film and deepened with many eye-rolls and eyebrow curls emanating from this viewer right to the end.

Using his characteristic Mamet-speak type of dialogue we are thrown into a plot situation where viewer assumptions must be made (because explanations are not forthcoming as to what the heck is going on in the story) and after a bit I did not really care who was doing what to whom or why.

It is filled with conspiracies, cover-ups, deceptions, lies, the kidnapping of the President's daughter into a Middle Eastern white sex slave ring and secret ops. Oy!

Spartan turns out to be merely meager!

Acting: I am not a Val Kilmer fan so his lead role in this film left me cold. Derek Luke (Antoine Fisher) brought a bit of heart to his role. Tia Texada as the female agent was laughable.

Predilection: I like David Mamet.

Critters: None.

Food: Secret ops guys have no time to eat.

Visual Art: When a film resorts to flashlights and shadowy corridors there is nary a chance to see any artwork. However one of the scenes did involve an Islamic antique dealer and some interesting art.

Blatant Product Placement: Coke, Dr. Pepper, Apple Computer and the white sex slave trade.

Soundtrack: Annoying.

Opening Titles: The sole word 'SPARTAN' and then we were thrown right into the film.

Theater Audience: After spending almost two weeks in Northern California (enjoying their unusually warm 80 degree weather) without seeing a film I decided to go to a Muti-plex because I was suffering from cinema withdrawals. We went to a 2PM weekday show and expected to be alone but were surprised when about 30 other people joined us. The rows were so far apart from one another you could skate board between them.

Random Airplane Story: On our flight home we spotted Sean Penn. He was traveling alone and clearly did not want to chat with any of the other passengers. I thought of asking him if he wanted to be on my movie list but decided his reputation for unwanted queries should be adhered to as sufficient warning. He was met by no one at JFK, got his own luggage and vanished into the cold, snowy night just like the rest of us weary travelers.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Predictability Level: Who cared?

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: NO!

Nit Picking: Tia Texada's character is supposed to be a gung-ho Marine type and her heavy eye make-up seen during the rescue mission made me laugh.

Big Screen or Rental: Neither, but for some better Mamet films, how about trying: State and Main, The Winslow Boy, Wag the Dog, The Spanish Prisoner, Glengarry Glen Ross, House of Games, The Untouchables and The Verdict.

Length: Under two hours.