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 betraya
l. 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. Director Talik Saleh moves smoothly between the mix of normal character interaction and the expected highspeed chases, explosions, and gunplay that define the genre. 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 provides a flash of intensity. Otherwise, by following predictable patterns, The Contractor does its job acceptably by providing brief but forgettable distraction.