Val Kilmer’s Last Decent Movie

DATELINE: Mamet Strikes Again


The last decent movie made by Val Kilmer was about a dozen years ago, called Spartan (2004), directed and written by David Mamet.

It’s one of those double cross, double agent stories about how sly and violent the real national security people are. They have nothing compared to Kilmer who made this movie looking rather beautiful. Of course, he had his own make-up artist, two personal assistants, and a driver. Even his leather jacket received billing.

As for the movie, it did not portray the world in any kind of favorable light, being the epitome of cynicism. It was made a dozen years before Mr. Trump won his election—but it’s a world that his supporters would likely point to as the reality.

Kilmer is so tough as nails and coldly professional as a killer that his loyal aides will die for him. What’s more the movie is filmed mostly in Boston to show liberals how they are being used.

A smart cast includes Derek Luke, Bill Macy, and Ed O’Neill, as various levels of national security snarks.

If you can’t tell the good guys from the bad, you have a sense that Jason Bourne may be the new rule as far as government conspiracy is concerned. Yes, this film seems to want to be in that mold—giving Kilmer a franchise.

Alas, this one never caught on—and worse, fell through the cracks of espionage-up-the-kazoo. What a shame. Its natural dark element does turn it up a notch over cartoon superheroes.

The film was once titled, “Ranger,” because everyone thought Spartan was an epic by Sophocles. They should have stuck with Ranger.