The Negotiator

Review Date:
Director: F. Gary Gray
Writer: James DeMonaco and Kevin Fox
Producers: David Hoberman and Arnon Milchan
Samuel L. Jackson as Danny Roman, Kevin Spacey as Chris Sabian, J.T. Walsh as Inspector Niebaum
Hostage negotiator extraordinaire Danny Roman (Jackson) suddenly becomes suspect number one in a fellow cop’s murder. Sensing a setup, Danny decides to take matters into his own hands, and holds a couple of hostages of his own. Enter negotiator number two, named Sabian (Spacey), who climbs into the picture to talk our man Danny and the hostages down safely from their plight. The tension builds…and there’s your movie.
Entertaining thriller that grabbed me from its first few minutes, generated some genuine interest despite its lengthy runtime, and continued to accentuate the incredible charismatic acting abilities of one Samuel L. Jackson. Now this positive review comes despite the fact that this film’s plot line seemed to have been completely given away by its “morons for hire” marketed movie trailer. So even though I pretty much knew what to expect going into this movie, I must say that the tension and thrills were still there for me, so kudos go out to the director and the notable actors in that regard.

This movie always seemed to keep me interested in its direction, and despite a couple of slower moments in its midst, the “I wonder what’s gonna happen next?” vibe never left my back pocket. It reminded me a lot of the walkie-talkie conversations that Bruce Willis and Reginald VelJohnson had in the original DIE HARD (8/10) movie, but on a much larger scale, with more tension and less action. Having said that, I must admit that some of the plot points did escape me in this one, but matter not, since the film as a whole worked on the tray that it was prepared, which was a fun, action thriller.

Points to Pig Vomit from Howard Stern’s PRIVATE PARTS (7/10), Paul Giamatti, for scoring nicely as the comic relief in this thrilling tale, as well as a posthumous tip of the cap to J.T. Walsh who delivered icicles as the implicated internal affairs rep. But for the most part, I think that it’s the continuing great work by Sam Jackson that makes this film stand out as much as it does! I mean, the plot doesn’t necessarily revive the genre by any stretch of the imagination, but Sammy always seems to keep us interested in his character, and curious as to his next outcome or action. Mr. Jackson’s genuine aura oozes from the screen and into your psyche, as he continues to staple himself as one of the most gifted, and watcheable actors of this generation. Overall, this film delivers great acting, consistent thrills, a mediocre plot line, and a solid nacho-muncher of a good time at the movies.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian