A Special Forces sergeant finds himself involuntarily discharged from the Army, landing a contract with a private underground military force. When his very first assignment goes awry, he is forced to run and fight for his life as he attempts to survive. This is a middling espionage thriller that could have been stronger with a better script and some additional support from its cast.
After being involuntarily discharged from the US Special Forces, James Harper (Chris Pine) resorts to private contract work to support his family. He and his best friend Mike (Ben Foster) join a team tasked with tracking down a scientist who works on viral pathogens, but he is soon confronted with a conspiracy that could lead to the release of a bioweapon.
Director Tarik Saleh, whose first English-language feature is The Contractor, is interested in how bureaucracies treat people as disposable, caring for profits over lives. He and screenwriter J.P. Davis are careful to explore such themes without letting them overpower the film’s action-packed plot, and they’re handled with finesse. However, things start to drag a bit when we’re also dealing with the baggage that comes with being a military veteran, and scenes of Harper performing surveillance on his target are dragged out for a while. The movie finishes 103 minutes in length, and it doesn’t quite have enough time to give the audience a satisfying experience.
James Harper (Chris Pine) is a Special Forces veteran with a knee injury who has just been involuntarily discharged after failing a steroid test. With his family, including his wife Brianne (Gillian Jacobs) and son Jack (Sander Thomas), suffering from a lack of income and stress, he decides to go into private contracting in order to support them.
The Contractor is a tense and thrilling action thriller that makes for an excellent watch in theaters or on demand. It also features a terrific cast led by Chris Pine and Kiefer Sutherland.
At the heart of the film is an understated theme about veterans and the difficulty they face in trying to reintegrate into society after a war. It’s an idea that could have been used to make a compelling argument for the movie, but instead, it gets drowned out by the briskly-paced action sequences that are largely percussively scored and uninvolving.
After an involuntary discharge from the Army, Special Forces Sergeant James Harper (Chris Pine) decides to take care of his family by joining a private contracting organization. However, his first assignment goes awry and he finds himself entangled in a dangerous conspiracy that leaves him fighting for his life.
Director Tarik Saleh and writer J.P. Davis try to qualify for the Taylor Sheridan School of Neo Westerns, but “The Contractor” lacks the ambition to make it interesting or unexpected. It tries to explore the challenges veterans face after military service, but it quickly becomes a cliche-driven action flick.
Chris Pine is good in the role, displaying a range of expressions that allows him to show us James’s psychological struggles as well as his physical limitations. Ben Foster and Gillian Jacobs also do their share to carry the film. But it is a shame that Saleh and Davis don’t explore more of what makes the character tick, because they should have.