Screen Reviews

The Negotiator

directed by F. Gary Gray

starring Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey

Race-neutral roles in Hollywood films are still a rare occurrence. Films about public servants like cops and lawyers are the easiest way around that problem. The Negotiator gives Samuel L. Jackson a role as a hostage negotiator that never acknowledges race. That is one of the film’s best selling points. Other than that, it is a routine action picture originally slated for Sylvester Stallone. Danny Roman (Jackson) is framed by corrupt cops and finds himself taking hostages in a high-rise office building to clear himself. Obviously, the Die Hard formula is in full effect. But despite the involvement of Kevin Spacey and other fine actors, this film is flimsy. It is as if a SWAT team got the script in their sights and blew it full of holes.


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