Directed by F. Gary Gray
Running Time: 2:19

Overall The Negotiator was an enjoyable film, but with flaws. So let's cut to the chase, shall we? The weak points of the film were as follows: The plot. I found the plot to be very confusing. It's not giving anything away to say that Samuel L. Jackson's character is set up early on in the film. He is the top hostage negotiator in the city of Chicago, and when he's set up, he takes people hostage himself. So, no problem there. But the reason he was set up, how he was set up, why he was set up, who set him up, all that is a little hard to follow. In fact, thinking about it, it may not have been because it was too hard to follow, it may just not have been explained at length. For a movie that was more thriller than action-adventure, a strong plot line is necessary to drive the film. And I don't think the ending really resolved any of my questions. It was too simple an ending. I do like the idea of a hostage negotiator taking people hostage. That part worked for me, but the plot itself was weak.

Second problem: the dialogue. It seemed very choppy at times. If you've read a lot of my reviews you know how I write, so I know choppy when I hear choppy. The feeling I got was that it was written with previews in mind. A lot of what was said seemed like it could be used in commercials. A lot of hard hitting one liners that would grab the audience. That works fine for previews, but when a movie is full of them, it doesn't sound right. A lot of it seemed cheesy as well. Sort of cliche written, taken straight from a manual. For a bunch of first rate actors, I wish what they had to say was better.

Which brings me to the strong point of the film: the acting. When you have two top rate actors like Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey, very little can go wrong. As I said before, the dialogue was weak, but these two actors can make anything sound good. They had a strong supporting cast as well, lead by the late J.T. Walsh. Jackson and Spacey are in my opinion two of the best actors working today, and they made the movie for me. They both have this quiet power about them. They manage to take control of the screen when they're on, and when they're on together, they just about blow everyone else away. But once again, I just wish they had better dialogue to speak.

So overall, if you get get past the plot, and concentrate on the actors, you'll enjoy The Negotiator. The only reason I didn't grade this movie lower was because of Spacey and Jackson, so if you don't like them, then you might not like the movie.

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