The Art of War

"Unbearable"

The Art of War Review


Wesley Snipes is a master of selecting bad action roles. Murder at 1600, U.S. Marshals, Money Train, Drop Zone, Boiling Point, and the ultimate camp film - Passenger 57. The Art of War is another entry in this very ugly and unique category. Ultimately, it is little more than a ridiculous action film with a plot as believable as the Warren Report, ugly violence that would have made Peckinpah cringe, and terrible acting by B-list actors like Michael Biehn and Anne Archer. Oddly, it feels like the undiscovered sequel to another Snipes "masterpiece," Rising Sun.

The movie revolves around the convenient story of a special UN operative caught up in a secret murder conspiracy involving a Chinese ambassador, the Chinese Triad Brotherhood, a rich Chinese businessman (played by...that bad guy from Rising Sun, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) a Chinese UN interpreter, and, inexplicably, Donald Sutherland. The film ends with more confusion than a boatload of Chinese immigrants trying to register at Ellis Island. Or should I say the film ends with the most blatant ripoff of both The Matrix and all of John Woo's Hong Kong films combined.

I am really at a loss to figure out why Wesley Snipes had the gumption to not only star in this action dud but also act as one of the producers of the film. I usually enjoy Snipes' movies - though his dramatic roles better show off his creativity as an actor than the flashiness of his action films. Simply, I am amazed by the how inane the script was, filled with terrible cliches and extremely violent action sequences. Director Christian Duguay (Screamers) has a strange attraction to the viciousness of violent acts -- showing splattering brains, people impaled with broken shards of glass, and lots of gargling and gagging as blood sprays everywhere. It also sickens me to know that Oliver Stone, one of the greatest directors working today, had his hand in producing this monstrosity. I guess Snipes sold Stone on the conspiracy angle and Stone chose not to read the script, watch the dailies, be involved in casting, or anything else -- or else he'd be filing a court order to remove his name from the credits.

It's also seems evident that with the Russkies as our new bosom buddies and the Middle Eastern terrorist angle being beaten to death in the last couple of years that the new international enemies in Hollywood are the Communist Chinese. I'm sure over the next couple of months, even more "Chinese conspiracy/martial-arts action flicks" are going to be popping up in your local multiplex.

Hopefully they won't include Wesley Snipes.

Wesley goes to War.



The Art of War

Facts and Figures

Run time: 117 mins

In Theaters: Friday 25th August 2000

Box Office USA: $29.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $30.2M

Budget: $40M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Morgan Creek Productions, Franchise Pictures, Amen Ra Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 16%
Fresh: 13 Rotten: 67

IMDB: 5.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Neil Shaw, as Douglas Thomas, as Frank Capella, as Eleanor Hooks


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