Spartan - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Spartan Reviews

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Erik Lundegaard
Seattle Times
October 28, 2011
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Time Out
June 24, 2006
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Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
August 7, 2004
The real violence, as is always the case with Mamet, lies not in the mayhem but in the thrusting rhythms of the dialogue.
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
March 25, 2004
Both technically accomplished and moderately entertaining.
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Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic
March 21, 2004
Mamet's understanding of the essentials here and his skill in supplying them are not major achievements for him, but it would be wasteful not to recognize them.
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
March 21, 2004
Spartan is the same old stuff, but now it's been thoroughly Mametized, like a spray-on treatment you could spritz out of a can.
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
March 18, 2004
Not one character makes sense, there is no shred of craft, and the script sounds like it was written by a 6-year-old who has accidentally swallowed a microchip.
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 16, 2004
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
March 12, 2004
Is Spartan a perfect, or even a great, movie? Probably not. But in its prickly irascibility and deeply unsettling intelligence, it makes for a very, very good one.
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
March 12, 2004
Until its final stumble, this intelligence thriller ... is charged with brilliance.
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
March 12, 2004
Despite its many failings, Spartan is better than most of what passes for thrillers down at the multiplex.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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March 12, 2004
The first hour of Spartan can make you sick with dread, like the first season of the TV series 24 ... The last half-hour of Spartan is still entertaining, but it's laughable.
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
March 12, 2004
A cold piece, mechanistic and only intermittently involving.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
March 12, 2004
An entertainingly over-the-top tale of good, evil, sex, and betrayal.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
March 12, 2004
Good film. Very good.
| Original Score: 5/5
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
March 12, 2004
This isn't a genuine Mamet thriller, but a cheap copy.
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
March 12, 2004
Starts out promisingly, but quickly sinks under the weight of its own plot twists, ponderous pacing and Val Kilmer's monotonous performance as a ruthless special-ops agent.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
March 12, 2004
Mamet's normally dead-on cynicism is wildly off the mark.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
March 12, 2004
Though it's not up to his best work, it's a worthy addition to Mamet's oeuvre.
| Original Score: B
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
March 12, 2004
The non-conformist has conformed, giving us a movie little different in impact from those many other Hollywood thrillers out there -- the kind that start out really strong only to wind up weak and wonky.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
March 12, 2004
It's smart, quick and engrossing, and even if it's also imperfect, it at least attempts to engage subjects too often ignored.
| Original Score: B-
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
March 12, 2004
The first great movie of 2004.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
March 12, 2004
Spartan never really jells, and the gamesmanship ultimately feels contrived.
| Original Score: C+
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
March 12, 2004
Like many political thrillers, there is a pervasive paranoia at work here. Only this psychosis feels old, not interesting.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
March 12, 2004
The particular pleasure of Spartan is to watch the characters gradually define themselves and the plot gradually emerge like your face in a steamy mirror.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
March 12, 2004
When Spartan is good, it's surprisingly gripping and fresh, and when it's bad, it's just another overcooked Hollywood paranoid thriller.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Scott Von Doviak
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
March 12, 2004
In Mamet's hands, top-level military operations are just another con game.
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Robert Koehler
Variety
March 11, 2004
Will intrigue only those interested in the nooks and crannies of Mamet's career.
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Mike Clark
USA Today
March 11, 2004
Mamet's sometimes confusing latest effort is a lot of gradual buildup to a payoff that falls short.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
March 11, 2004
It's the familiar good-spy-vs.-bad-spy palaver served up in standard Mamet style.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
March 11, 2004
This cloak-and-dagger thriller is far more gripping than its higher-profile cousins.
| Original Score: 4/5
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
March 11, 2004
David Mamet's political thriller manages the difficult trick of being both logically meticulous and genuinely surprising.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
March 11, 2004
Like many of the works he directs, Spartan does not feel like Mamet at the top of his game.
| Original Score: 2/5
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
March 11, 2004
Imagine David Mamet rewriting his political satire Wag the Dog as a joke-free kidnap drama. Or don't imagine, just pony up for the glum spectacle of Spartan.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
March 11, 2004
An entertaining foray into a world of spy guys, stakeouts and secret government machinations, Spartan teems with the kind of terse crypto-speak that is the playwright and filmmaker's stock-in-trade.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Gene Seymour
Newsday
March 11, 2004
For all its narrative flair, Spartan ends up as just another chance for Mamet to show off his tennis-ace virtuosity with speech and atmosphere within the boundaries of a standardized movie genre.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
March 11, 2004
Mamet creates a narrative so complex that it's scarcely worth the effort to unravel it.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
March 11, 2004
[Mamet] can stage action scenes as muscular as all the Hollywood big boys now, and he can come up with concepts just as loony as theirs, too.
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Gary Dowell
Dallas Morning News
March 11, 2004
With the intelligent, stripped-down Spartan, Mr. Mamet demonstrates that he can take something as staid as the political thriller and make it work on his own terms and vice versa.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Mark Caro
Chicago Tribune
March 11, 2004
Like Heist, Spartan includes its share of twists and doublecrosses, but it's so effective in immersing you in its dimly lit, claustrophobic world that you don't sit outside the action pondering how Mamet is trying to con you.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
March 11, 2004
Yes, there are machine guns, helicopters and car chases. But Mamet's inimitable rhythms and his taste for particularized lingo give the action stuff a certain personality.
| Original Score: B+
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
March 10, 2004
Mamet's gamesmanship was more fun when it was less eager to look important.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
March 9, 2004
By despairing of the military or intelligence communities rather than heroizing them, Mamet is quietly bucking the system.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
March 8, 2004
... I think the cast universally does a wonderful job.
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Michael Rechtshaffen
Hollywood Reporter
February 4, 2004
Despite a promising setup, the journey leads to the same kind of dramatic dead end found at the end of the playwright-filmmaker's last screen effort, Heist.