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‘The Contractor’: Robin’s movie review

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For this week’s Movie Minutes, Robin Holabird takes a look at The Contractor, a new film starring Chris Pine.

Actor Chris Pine channels his inner Matt Damon for The Contractor. Make that an outer Matt Damon, because along with a well-muscled handsomeness as the contractor, Pine chooses a premise that bears much in common with the franchise about Jason Bourne, whose skills as a trained killer get used and abused by the government that created him.

As the contractor, Pine’s title character goes by the name “James Harper” and served the United States well as a ranger, running headfirst into dangerous missions. Quickly covered in opening credits, James suffers from an Achilles’ heel — or rather, knee — a shredded joint that leads him to unsanctioned pain killers and a boot from the military. Swimming in debt and lacking veterans benefits, he turns to private contracting work for a nebulous organization.

Anyone who watched the Jason Bourne movies can predict some of the difficulties James encounters. Writer J.P. Davis emphasizes betrayal. Disloyalty comes from many quarters, with James hurtling the action-hero course as he flees attackers at every bend in a river.

The role as James gives Pine a chance to repeat the physical skills he showed in projects like his Jack Ryan movie, while the character’s feelings confronting injustice provide opportunity to display emotional battering. Granted, it often seems miraculous that so many bullets miss hitting the hero, so fantasy moments must intercede, preventing The Contractor from rising above predictable movie action.

However, action fans find an admirable hero in The Contractor, with Pine’s screen charisma upping the ante. Pine reteams with Ben Foster from their best movie together, Hell or High Water. The two once again display a bonding that provides a flash of intensity. Otherwise, by following predictable patterns, The Contractor does its job acceptably by providing brief but forgettable distraction.

“The Contractor” opened on April 1 with a limited theatrical release and is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

This review aired on KUNR FM on Friday, April 15.

Robin Holabird is KUNR’s entertainment reviewer, author, and former film commissioner for the Nevada Film Office. You can browse a full archive of her reviews here.

Robin Holabird reviews movies for KUNR, and her reviews have aired for more than 30 years. During that time, she has had a high profile in the Nevada film community.
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