The Negotiator

Bomb Rating: 

This film couldn't have been more obvious had it been wrapped around a brick. It was about as subtle as two hours of Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakan debating the merits of indentured servitude. Danny Roman (Samuel L. Jackson) is the pride of the Chicago Police Department -- its number one hostage negotiator. He's saved the lives of countless numbers of his fellow officers and innocent people.

Of course, black/white relations being what they are, the second a couple of thin mints are missing from Commander Adam Beck's (David Morse) box of girl scout cookies, Danny has to strip naked and submit himself to body cavity searches.

Actually, Danny is set up by somebody within the department when he's found next to the body of his dead partner right after his partner has revealed some knowledge about an insurance fraud. Quicker than you can say "Texas death row execution," Danny's looking at life in prison and all his former buds in the department are melting down his medals. What's a black man in a white man's world to do? Danny decides to take a few hostages himself, including the scummy Inspector Niebaum (J.T. Walsh), and call in the second best hostage negotiator in Chicago, Chris Sabian (Kevin Spacey), to see if he can't get to the bottom of this conspiracy.

When director F. Gary ("Set it Off") Gray's film isn't being a deceptive political statement, it's just another pathetic chapter in the men's movement. His message: Men, be they black, white, or whatever, can arrive at truth and inner peace, not through games involving the hides of dead animals, but through nice, heart-to-heart chats. Here's what I say: Spacey vs. Jackson: The Ultimate Fighting Death Match. Beer and pork rinds are on me.

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