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The Art of War

movie reviewvideo review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: The Art of War

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Anne Archer
Director: Christian Duguay
Rated: R
RunTime: 120 Minutes
Release Date: August 2000
Genres: Action, Suspense


*Also starring: Michael Biehn, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Donald Sutherland, Marie Matiko, Liliana Komorowska, James Hong, Maury Chaykin



Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

In Christian Duguay's THE ART OF WAR, it's death by noise. No, not the characters' deaths, yours. With its explosive sound effects and Normand Corbeil's bombastic score, the film is an Excedrin headache for viewers.

Wesley Snipes (BLADE) works in a covert UN operation so tough that it would make the CIA envious. (Bet you didn't even know that the UN had a secret operation.) A high-ranking Chinese diplomat is assassinated on the eve of a big trade agreement, so Snipes, as agent Shaw, goes into action. The generic plot isn't important as it just provides the pretext for lots of fighting and gore. The high-kicking Snipes looks like a black Jet Li auditioning to be the next James Bond. The picture itself, with its glitzy skyscraper locales, wants badly to be the next ENTRAPMENT, which it isn't.

With its awful dialog, the movie works best when it shuts up. Eleanor Hooks (Anne Archer), aide to U.N. Secretary General Douglas Thomas (Donald Sutherland), says, for example, "My instinct tells me that something is lurking under the surface." What's lurking isn't a lot of brains. When Shaw hears from his partner, Bly (Michael Biehn), over their communication system that Bly has been shot, Shaw doesn't bother asking his location. Instead, Shaw goes around screaming and runs right into danger himself.

Another time, as Agent Cappella (Maury Chaykin) is lying on the ground, the bad guys come in to finish him off. These dumb villains have never heard of bulletproof vests, so they make sure that Cappella's dead by shooting him in the chest rather than the head. Getting up alive afterwards, the director has Cappella take off his shirt to show us the vest. He doesn't think we would be smart enough to figure that out on our own.

If all it takes to earn your entertainment dollars are audio assaults on your ears and bloody images for your eyes, THE ART OF WAR may be just your ticket. Those who demand a bit more from a movie will be bitterly disappointed.

THE ART OF WAR runs 1:57. It is rated R for strong violence, some sexuality, language and brief drug content and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

Copyright 2000 Steve Rhodes

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