Gray's potboiler about a hostage negotiator-turned-kidnapper (Jackson) has as much brains as brawn, thanks to white-hot dialogue and ace performances from Jackson and Spacey. A strong supporting cast sheers up the tension, especially the late J.T. Walsh as the tough Internal Affairs chief and Giamatti as a quaking hostage. Jackson is gripping as Lt. Danny Roman, the Chicago police department's fearless and famed hostage negotiator who totes a gun but relies on words for ammo. When his partner is killed after uncovering police corruption, Roman is framed for the murder. Determined not to end up jail-bait, Roman storms the Internal Affairs office and takes several hostages so he can buy time and prove his innocence. Spacey plays Sabian, the man Roman demands as his negotiator, confident he'll have the upper-hand. But the wily Sabian proves to be Roman's match in mindgames and the ensuing hot-tempered face-off is riveting.
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