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Movie Review: The Contractor is barely watchable

Chris Pine is a fine actor and, with a surname that belongs to a tree, his acting tends to grow on you if you don’t initially like him. He is this generation’s Dennis Quaid, in terms of rugged charm and charisma. However, “The Contractor” reduces all those fine qualities to zero.

A movie which never quite reaches its potential

“The Contractor” appears to have put out a contract on good viewing and successfully killed it with an amateurish script and storyline. Sure, if you love action for the sake of action, then “The Contractor” will be a companionable addition to your movie collection. But if you pine for more, pun intended, then forget this movie.

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In it, Pine plays Special Forces Sergeant James Harper, an elite agent who has a bad knee and also a bad rap as he gets dishonourably discharged from the U.S. Army.

He’s a calm fellow, but a silent rage builds up inside him as a Himalaya of bills keep mounting, which prevents him from mounting wife Brianne (Gillian Jacobs) since a broke man is too busy thinking about money to have sex. Well, that’s what I’ve been told.

Anyway, Harper is broke, completely and also (as we say in Uganda). Mercifully, help soon comes in the shape of former military squad mate and good friend Mike (Ben Foster). He has a deal, don’t they always, and this deal involves dollar signs.

However, Mike’s deal involves doing off-the-books operations for an army veteran named Rusty Jennings (Kiefer Sutherland).

Before Harper can think it over, Dusty dangles plenty of cash before his church-mouse eyes and Harper is quickly seduced into a mission where he and Mike are contracted to be mercenaries, only to find themselves staring down the barrels of several guns.

It is too bad that the action is not balanced out by dramatic flourishes towards a watchable spy drama. Instead, “The Contractor” has a been-there-watched-that-a-million-times quality to it and so you will probably know how the movie ends as soon as it begins.

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