Combustible Celluloid
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With: Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, David Morse, Ron Rifkin, John Spencer, J.T. Walsh, Siobhan Fallon, Paul Giamatti, Regina Taylor
Written by: James DeMonaco, Kevin Fox
Directed by: F. Gary Gray
MPAA Rating: R for violence and language
Running Time: 139
Date: 07/29/1998

The Negotiator (1998)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Center Hostage

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Director F. Gary Gray (Friday, Set It Off) takes a routine script (by James DeMonaco and Kevin Fox) about a hostage negotiator, mixes it up with two supreme performances by two masters of cool, Kevin Spacey and Samuel L. Jackson, and makes it crackle.

Jackson is a hostage negotiator for the cops who is wrongly accused of embezzling. He gets fed up and holds several of his superiors hostage. But who can they call to out-negotiate a an experienced negotiator? That's where Spacey comes in, as the smooth talker who gets Jackson out.

We'll follow these two anywhere, even when the script goes crazy and whips all over the place. The Negotiator features the second-to-last performance of the great J.T. Walsh, the finest of the sniveling bad guy character actors.

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