Spartan - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Spartan Reviews

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.
March 25, 2004
Both technically accomplished and moderately entertaining.
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.
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.
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.
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.
March 12, 2004
Until its final stumble, this intelligence thriller ... is charged with brilliance.
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
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.
March 12, 2004
A cold piece, mechanistic and only intermittently involving.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
March 12, 2004
An entertainingly over-the-top tale of good, evil, sex, and betrayal.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
March 12, 2004
Good film. Very good.
Read More | Original Score: 5/5
March 12, 2004
This isn't a genuine Mamet thriller, but a cheap copy.
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
March 12, 2004
Mamet's normally dead-on cynicism is wildly off the mark.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
March 12, 2004
Though it's not up to his best work, it's a worthy addition to Mamet's oeuvre.
Read More | Original Score: B
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
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.
Read More | Original Score: B-
March 12, 2004
The first great movie of 2004.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
March 12, 2004
Spartan never really jells, and the gamesmanship ultimately feels contrived.
Read More | Original Score: C+
March 12, 2004
Like many political thrillers, there is a pervasive paranoia at work here. Only this psychosis feels old, not interesting.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
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
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
March 12, 2004
In Mamet's hands, top-level military operations are just another con game.
March 11, 2004
Will intrigue only those interested in the nooks and crannies of Mamet's career.
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
March 11, 2004
It's the familiar good-spy-vs.-bad-spy palaver served up in standard Mamet style.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
March 11, 2004
This cloak-and-dagger thriller is far more gripping than its higher-profile cousins.
Read More | Original Score: 4/5
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
March 11, 2004
Like many of the works he directs, Spartan does not feel like Mamet at the top of his game.
Read More | Original Score: 2/5
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.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
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.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
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.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
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
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.
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+
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.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
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.
Read More | Original Score: B+
March 10, 2004
Mamet's gamesmanship was more fun when it was less eager to look important.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
March 9, 2004
By despairing of the military or intelligence communities rather than heroizing them, Mamet is quietly bucking the system.
March 8, 2004
... I think the cast universally does a wonderful job.
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.