New York City police detective John Shaft (nephew of the original 1970s detective) goes on a personal mission to make sure the son of a real estate tycoon is brought to justice after a racially-motivated murder.
Samuel L. Jackson,
In the midst of an elaborate conspiracy, an expert negotiator is driven to the edge when he's framed for the murder of his partner, as well as embezzling money from his department's pension fund. His only chance to prove his innocence is to take hostages himself, acquire the services of another expert negotiator, and find out who's running the conspiracy before it's too late. Written by
Good Solid Hollywood Entertainment -- No More No Less
"The Negotiator" is neither a deep film that might cause serious contemplation of social issues nor a radically different experimental experience. It is simply a star-studded action thriller designed to allow the audience to escape into the world of Chicago hostage squad cops. A wrongfully accused negotiator/cop, played at about 300+ degrees Fahrenheit by Samuel Jackson matches wits with another negotiator, Kevin Spacey, who does his best to keep Jackson from reaching the boiling point. Briefly, Jackson is caught in the middle of an extortion scandal involving the lifting of millions of dollars from the policeman's pension fund. When Jackson's partner becomes aware of the secret heist, he is taken out, and the powers behind the white-collar corporate dealings use Jackson as the scapegoat. Jackson then retaliates by using extra-legal means.
What makes this movie are the performances by both Jackson and Spacey, with good performances by the supporting cast, including the late J.T. Walsch who made a career of playing heartless and emotionless middle-age men. And John Spencer is also involved as the Chief of Police, shortly before he was promoted to the White House Chief of Staff in "The West Wing".
The movie goes a mile a minute but is suffused with an interesting enough storyline to make it well worth the price of admission. Some of what happens is ludicrous when you really think about it, but you tend to just run with it. Not a bad way to kill two hours, and you could do a lot worse.
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