"Standard script nicely punched up by Spacey and Samuel L."
The eternal question: Sam Jackson vs. Kevin Spacey. Who makes who their bitch?It's been a weak year for action flicks, at least ones with any substance. Hell, even for ones that are just about big things blowing up. This is the best of the lot thus far, and it's all because Kevin Spacey and Samuel L. Jackson bouncing off each others' vibes makes for damn enjoyable watching. Is it great? No. One for the ages? No. But it never insults your intelligence, thank God.
Sam Jackson is the best hostage negotiator on the Chicago police force. Unfortunately, there's thieving of the pension fund about, and Sam gets framed, so he takes a few hostages himself to sort out the mess, causing a bigger mess in the process. He calls out the second best hostage negotiator in Chicago (Spacey) and a cat-and-mouser ensues. Who took the money? Whose head games will be most effective? Who will die before the truth is discovered? Who do you trust?
The script is solid but unspectacular. F. Gary Gray's direction is unobtrusive and just lets the cast do their business. There's some business with black and white photography that never fits at all, but otherwise the film flows nicely. And all the supporting perfs are just fine, especially Paul Giamatti and the always entertaining J.T. Walsh in one of his final performances.
It's the Sam and Kevin show. Let's see it again sometime.No bitches. Just good acting. Enjoy the scenery chewing.