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Spartan (2004 movie)

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Movie poster for Spartan

Spartan is an action-adventure/political thriller film written and directed by David Mamet, and released in March 2004. The film's cast includes Val Kilmer, Derek Luke, William H. Macy, Ed O'Neill, Tia Texada, and Kristen Bell. Alexandra Kerry, the daughter of U.S. Senator John Kerry, plays a small role as a bartender in the film.

Tagline: She's missing

Robert Scott (Kilmer) is a coldly-efficient Special Forces operative who trains recruits to serve in various capacities for the government, namely the Secret Service. When Laura Newton (Bell), the Harvard-schooled daughter of a high-ranking government official turns up missing, Scott is drawn into the operation to find her. He is aided on his assignment by two of his trainees, Curtis (Luke) and Jackie Black (Texada). The investigation takes him from Boston into the heart of a white slavery ring operating out of the Middle East, as he navigates through a number of twists, doublecrosses, and tested loyalties along the way.

Mamet, a master of the confidence game, uses the framework of the studio action picture to touch on a few points about the symbiosis between the mass media and the political arena. The end result is not unlike a more sinister examination of themes explored in Mamet's screenplay for Wag the Dog. He also manages to exude a workman's touch with the film's many scenes of sudden, brutal violence, free from the stylized mayhem of many larger-budget studio affairs. As always, the dialogue -- a rhythmic mishmash of profanity, jargon, and anachronism -- reveals Mamet's gift for otherworldly, grandiloquent banter.

The title makes allusions to Leonidas I, king of Sparta, who, when a neighbor state needed military aid, would send one man. As Scott puts it, "One riot, one ranger."

Of note: The film's Dubai settings were actually filmed in Los Angeles.

Eric Haney, a career Army officer and member of Delta Force, was a technical advisor on the film.

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