The Hitman Becomes the Hit
There was a time when seeing Wesley Snipes name attached to a movie meant that you would get something big, be it a big action movie or a big drama, although it didn't necessary mean they were good. Sadly that doesn't seem to be the case anymore as whilst Snipes still crops up in a few big movies he seems to be making money in run of the mill action thrillers many of which reside in the realms of straight to video. "The Contractor" is a prime example of one of these run of the mill action movies as whilst we have Snipes playing a CIA assassin sent to kill a terrorist what follows is basically him on the run relying on a young girl who befriends him. There is nothing new about "The Contractor" in the slightest with various ideas you can find in other action movies combined to create a storyline. But if all you want is some action as well as Wesley Snipes acting cool well you will get what you want.
Having retired to live life on his ranch former CIA operative James Jackson Dial (Wesley Snipes - Chaos) is approached to take on one special mission, to head to Britain to assassinate terrorist Ali Mahmud Jahar (Nikolai Sotirov) who is in British Custody. But when the assassination plans have to be changed at the last minute Dial ends up on the run not only from the British police but also his own CIA bosses who need to silence him before an inquiry over CIA kill squads commences. Befriending young school girl Emily (Eliza Bennett - Nanny McPhee), Dial finds his options running out as even criminals are willing to turn him in.
As "The Contractor" starts we have Wesley Snipes as James Dial on his ranch trying to break in a wild horse, it doesn't look at all right, far too soft and choreographed. It doesn't bode well for what is to follow and to be honest it doesn't get much better as we then watch Dial head to Britain to assassinate a terrorist and in doing so hooking up with CIA agent Terry Winchell one of the least believable agents you will ever witness. But this is really just the lead up as following the assassination we get to the main story which is Dial ending up injured, stuck in a London flat with both the British Police and CIA after him and a young girl called Emily who befriends him.
Ironically after the set up not a lot actually happens, we have an attempt by Dial to leave the country which results in some action. An attempt to get a fake passport which as you can guess results in some action. And whilst we have Jeremy Collins the CIA boss trying to silence Dial before time runs out as an investigation into CIA kill squads is due to commence it just means more action and killing. Basically none of the story, none of Dial's attempts to escape and hide are really that interesting and nor is the fact he makes friend with young school girl Emily.
But then no one should watch "The Contractor" for the storyline because it is plainly obvious a movie all about the action. You have the action of the assassination, the following escape and then plenty more when ever Dial tries to leave the country or the cops and CIA get close. And to be frank whilst it delivers plenty of nicely choreographed action there is nothing which will really grab your attention as like the story elements the action feels no different to what you can see in countless other low budget action movies. Actually there is one sort of difference as a fight in a baggage handling area of an airport has one of the longest strobe lighting effect scenes I have seen, and it is an effect which adds nothing to the scene.
What is kind of a surprise is that alongside Wesley Snipes "The Contractor" also stars a few recognizable faces such as Lena Headey, Charles Dance and Ralph Brown and what is more surprising is that some of the cast you expect to be pivotal end up being killed of. But ironically it is a teenage Eliza Bennett as Emily who ends up stealing many a scene purely because her character is more interesting, young girl living with her grandmother who takes a liking to Dial when he shows up in the flat next to hers. Emily may end up a character as weak as all the others but at least Eliza makes her someone you warm to.
What this all boils down to is that "The Contractor" is basically what you expect from a Wesley Snipes straight to video action movie. A cliche and weak storyline which only serves as a vehicle for various action scenes and for Snipes to look cool. If you want some simple run of the mill action it will entertain but don't expect anything more.