FBI: Negotiator (2005)
It's very easy to become distracted when watching "FBI: Negotiator" partly by other more interesting things and partly by Elisabeth Röhm whose striking features and all round sexiness keeps hold of you attention when everything else fails. That doesn't say much for this made for TV movie which not only combines "John Q." with a touch of Samuel L. Jackson's "The Negotiator" but then adds a huge and unsubtle dose of feminist rage. Now before anyone attacks me for being sexist, I have no issues with male chauvenist pigs being shown up for what they are but the way to do it is not in the less than subtle way it is done here. And sadly in the end "FBI: Negotiator" struggles because it isn't thrilling, it doesn't feal based in the real world and throw in other made for TV issues which makes it struggle.
FBI agent Laura Martin (Elisabeth Röhm - Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous) is a top hostage negotiator much to the annoyance of Agent Jon Di Carlo (Jerry Wasserman) who constantly spews sexist opinion at her believing a woman can't do the job. But chauvenist pigs are not Laura's only problems as ever since she got divorced her daughter Taylor (Taylor Anne Reid) has been unhappy especially as SWAT sharp shooter Frank Gerrard (Woody Jeffreys) has grown close to her mum. But matters become very complicated when Laura's best friend Elizabeth Moss (Chandra West - The Waiting Game) takes matters in to her own hands and takes a doctor and some nurses hostage until they agree to give her sick daughter the experimental medication which may cure her.
So if you know you're movies you will quickly spot that part of "FBI: Negotiator" is very similar to "John Q." as we have a parent demanding their child gets the treatment they need by holding a doctor hostage in a hospital. It's by no means as dramatic as "John Q." and in truth this only really comes into focus during the last half hour as we get plenty of other drama before that. At the same time it is also brings in a touch of "The Negotiator" to the mix as Elizabeth having typed up Laura's procedural notes for her knows exactly how the SWAT team will operate and so can preempt their next movie whilst also refusing to speak to anyone other than Laura. Again it isn't tense and in truth a bit weak when it comes to the outcome of all this hostage drama.
But as I said this hospital hostage negotiation is really only the final third of "FBI: Negotiator" and we have two other storylines going on before that. First up we get the less than subtle lecture about sexism as we watch Laura have to deal with the sexist Di Carlo and then we get divorced parent drama as the daughter blames her mum for dad leaving. The whole sexism side of the movie is unsubtle and whilst it has a point it does so in a forced manner and as for the divorced parent storyline well in truth it is just a cliche. There are a couple of other minor plot lines thrown in there surrounding sharp shooter Frank but they end up just filler.
The thing about all this is that it is very loose when it comes to being authentic and you find yourself having to hold back the groans when something happens which wouldn't in the real world of hostage negotiation. I know these flights of fancy are there to deliver drama and entertainment but unfortunately they don't and in some cases actually make "FBI: Negotiator" a bit corny.
Adding to the list of issues are the characters and to be honest they are the underdeveloped characters you would expect from a TV movie. Because of this, because these characters not only have one cliche dimension but do things which just doesn't happen in the real world I can't blame the cast for delivering over dramatics because that is the general feel of the entire movie. What I will say is that the camera loves Elisabeth Röhm and in the end the fact that Röhm as Laura is beauftiful and sexy ends up being the most memorable thing.
What this all boils down to is that "FBI: Negotiator" is not a good movie even by TV movie standards as it plays it fast and loose when it comes to being believable. But for all that is wrong with it, if all you want is some drama and don't care for authentic action, depth or character and anything more than good looking cliche characters it will probably be an entertaining distraction.
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