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"THE ART OF WAR"
(2000) (Wesley Snipes, Marie Matiko) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Extreme Extreme Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Minor Extreme None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Minor None Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Adventure/Thriller: Framed for an assassination he didn't commit, a covert American government agent sets out to clear his name and find those who set him up.
PLOT:
Neil Shaw (WESLEY SNIPES) is an American agent working for the United Nations whose assignments are so top secret that neither they nor he officially exist. Teamed with fellow covert agents Bly (MICHAEL BIEHN) and Novak (LILIANA KMOROWSKA) and reporting to chief of security Eleanor Hooks (ANNE ARCHER), Shaw works for U.N. Security General Douglas Thomas (DONALD SUTHERLAND) who's never officially met him.

With China about to sign a new trade agreement with the outside world, Thomas wants things to go smoothly, but a grisly discovery of murdered immigrants has made various officials uneasy. Thus, Hooks assigns Shaw and his team to observe Chinese Ambassador Wu (JAMES HONG) and his billionaire associate, David Chan (CARY-HIROYUKI TAGAWA), whom some believe may be involved in some fashion.

During a U.N. reception, however, Wu is assassinated, and despite Shaw chasing and nearly catching the killer, he's mistakenly captured by the police and FBI supervising agent Frank Cappella (MAURY CHAYKIN) who collectively believe him to be the assassin. When Chinese hitmen abduct Shaw in a deadly attack and then attempt to finish framing him for the murder, however, the agent manages to escape.

Eventually teaming with U.N. translator Julia Fang (MARIE MATIKO) who knows he's innocent but nonetheless reluctant to help him, Shaw attempts to discover who's behind the political conspiracy, all while avoiding various attempts on his life.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of Snipes or action/thrillers, they just might (the film seems most attractive to male teens).
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong violence, some sexuality, language and brief drug content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • WESLEY SNIPES plays a covert government agent who uses lethal force in the line of duty. He also briefly uses some strong profanity while otherwise trying to uncover the political conspiracy that's framed him as an assassin.
  • MARIE MATIKO plays a U.N. translator who becomes Shaw's unwilling partner in uncovering the political conspiracy. She briefly uses some strong profanity.
  • ANNE ARCHER plays his supervisor, a high-ranking official who works closely with the head of the U.N. and ultimately is involved in the sordid events. She also briefly uses some strong profanity.
  • MAURY CHAYKIN plays an FBI agent who tries to solve various crimes. He uses strong profanity.
  • CARY-HIROYUKI TAGAWA plays a seemingly corrupt and influential Chinese billionaire.
  • DONALD SUTHERLAND plays the U.N. Secretary General who's only concerned with getting China to sign a new trade agreement.
  • MICHAEL BIEHN plays one of Shaw's partners who turns out to be involved in the incidents that transpire. He also uses some profanity and deadly force against others.
  • LILIANA KMOROWSKA plays Shaw's other partner who briefly uses strong profanity.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief look at the content found in this R-rated political thriller. Violence is rated as extreme due to many people being killed in various fashions (gunshot wounds, neck breaking, etc.) that are often both brutal and bloody. Such moments and other scenes may be somewhat suspenseful to some viewers, some kids may want to imitate the fighting moves and other related action, and those involved in the murders and the overall conspiracy obviously have extreme cases of bad attitudes.

    Profanity is rated as extreme due to at least 12 uses of the "f' word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Several bare-breasted women are seen in some sort of men's club where they dance and/or serve the men in various fashions, and a photo of a topless woman is seen several times, while another scene partially shows (and otherwise strongly suggests) young women having oral sex with a man under a table. We also briefly see a man dubbing/watching some pornographic videos that show some movement and include related sounds.

    A miscellaneous character is seen snorting cocaine while attempting to drive his large truck, while some brief drinking and smoking also occur. If this summary doesn't appease your concerns about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may wish to see it, we suggest that you more closely examine our detailed content listings for specific examples of what occurs in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Some people, including Shaw, have champagne at a New Year's Eve party.
  • People have wine and/or champagne at a reception.
  • We see a truck driver snorting some cocaine while driving.
  • Some men in a club drink.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Shaw's shoulder (along with the jersey above it) is a bit bloody after landing on an asphalt basketball court and scraping it.
  • We see many dead bodies (some of which are bloody and in the beginning stages of decomposition) piled upon one another in recently opened, large metal crate (they were murdered). Seeing this, Cappella's partner vomits (we see some of it hit the street).
  • Someone wraps wire around a woman's neck, severely injuring her (we see Julia tending to her and in a later flashback see her holding her hand over the bloody wound with blood running out between her fingers).
  • A sniper assassinates Wu, with some blood splattering onto others. We then see the bloody bullet hole as well as a trickle of blood on his head from that hole (as well as a small pool of blood behind his head).
  • A person is somewhat bloody after a police van overturns.
  • Cappella has some blood on his head after an attack.
  • Blood splatters onto a window as a person is shot.
  • We see blood on the lift prongs of a large forklift as they're backed out of a truck with which it collided.
  • A woman's face is very bloody and we see some bloody bullet holes in her clothes after she's been beaten and shot. Later, we see some of her blood on some broken mirrors and glass.
  • We see a dead person with some blood on their head.
  • Some blood comes out when a person is shot.
  • To remove a tracing bug from his body, Shaw takes something resembling an exacto knife and cuts into his own shoulder (we see the sharp blade going into and then under the skin, with some bloody results).
  • A man's face and neck are rather bloody after being in a fight (and we see a shard of glass sticking out from his neck).
  • Shaw has a bit of blood on his face after being in a fight.
  • Blood splatters onto a window as another person is shot.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Everyone involved in the murders, political conspiracy and attempt to frame Shaw and/or kill him obviously have extreme cases of both types of attitudes.
  • Bly makes some somewhat disparaging remarks about Asians, as does Hooks about the Chinese.
  • To get away from the villains, Shaw steals other people's vehicles on several occasions.
  • Those running an underground sweatshop that Shaw discovers obviously have both types of attitudes as well.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may also be unsettling or suspenseful to viewers.
  • For viewers who are afraid/anxious of heights, scenes where Shaw is on the ledge of a high rise building and then rapidly floats/falls toward the street in a ripped parachute might be suspenseful.
  • We see many dead bodies (some of which are bloody and in the beginning stages of decomposition) piled upon one another in recently opened, large metal crate (they were murdered).
  • After an assassin shoots Wu, Shaw chases him through various rooms, hallways and buildings, occasionally dodging bullets and/or cautiously hunting for him.
  • Shaw fights with men in an out of control truck. Shackled, he eventually gets out of the truck and jumps onto the side of an adjacent and larger truck, from which he dangles just above the passing street below him. The passenger of the first truck then tries squashing Shaw between the trucks as they drive down a road.
  • Realizing she's been set up, Julia slowly makes her way through a nearly empty hospital, looking for the responsible party.
  • Alone in a government building at night (during a thunderstorm no less) and knowing that she's in danger, Julia tries to leave but realizes someone's watching her. She then ducks into a bathroom to avoid someone she sees approaching her. Later, she slowly tries to sneak out.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Sniper Rifle/Explosives: Used to threaten, wound or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Sick f*ck," "F*cked up," "I'm too f*cking old for this," "Bullsh*t," "Kick your ass," "Nuts" (crazy), "Bitch ass" and an incomplete "What the...?"
  • All of the highly choreographed and action-packed fighting might inspire some kids to want to imitate it, as might scenes where Shaw and other characters jump from rather high heights to the ground or other rooftops without being injured or killed from the fall.
  • Julia has what looks like a small diamond stud in her nostril (she has a pierced nose).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Shaw suddenly bangs on a two-way mirror.
  • Someone suddenly grabs Novak.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of action-oriented and suspenseful/ominous music plays during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None that we heard, although a rap song played that had lyrics that couldn't be understood (so there's the potential for some possible objectionable material).
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 12 "f" words (1 used with "mother"), 8 "s" words (1 written in English subtitles), 1 slang term using male genitals ("c*cks*cking"), 9 asses (6 used with "hole" and 1 written in English subtitles), 1 damn, 1 hell, 1 S.O.B., 4 uses of "G-damn," 2 uses each of "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" and 1 use of "Oh God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see two young women disappear under a table presumably to have oral sex with a middle-aged Chinese official. Shaw then passes by and uses a miniature surveillance camera to get a better look at what's occurring and we briefly see one of the women at the man's crotch but can't see any complete details. Once the official realizes he's being taped, however, he shoos them away and we then see him zipping up his pants.
  • Julia shows some cleavage.
  • Hanging from the rearview mirror of a car Shaw's just stolen/borrowed is a card showing a topless woman and her bare breasts (we see this several times).
  • Julia goofs up an English saying when she tells Shaw that it must be nice for him to think that she'll bend over whenever he wants (she meant bend over backwards).
  • Thinking she's bugged with a tracking device, Shaw tells Julia to remove all of her clothes. She reluctantly complies and we then see her sitting in the passenger seat of a car without any (she covers her bare breasts with her arms/hands, but we briefly see part of the side of her bare breast).
  • Shaw and Julia stop at a place she claims is a front for gambling and sex. Shaw then goes inside where he sees topless waitresses as well as various women sitting on Asian businessmen's laps, with many of the women being topless or removing their tops to display their bare breasts. Other topless women in thong-like bottoms sensuously dance for the men's viewing pleasure.
  • Later, Shaw passes by a man who appears to be recording/dubbing pornographic videotapes (we see some related images on his small video monitors that show movement - but nothing graphically explicit -- and hear sexually related sounds).
  • SMOKING
  • Bly smokes once and Novak stops him from smoking another time, while some miscellaneous men smoke in a club.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Whether such covert agents really work for organizations like the United Nations.
  • That people can't withstand the sort of fighting and tremendously high jumps that occur in the film without being seriously injured or killed.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Various thugs try attacking Shaw once he's completed his mission. He obviously fights back and exchanges many punches, kicks and other martial arts moves with the various assailants (one of whom smashes a table upon landing on it). He eventually jumps off the edge of a high-rise building, only to have another thug fire a machine gun at him, ripping part of his parachute but not hitting him.
  • Shaw lands hard on his shoulder while playing a one-on-one basketball game with Bly.
  • We see many dead bodies (some of which are bloody and in the beginning stages of decomposition) piled upon one another in recently opened, large metal crate (they were murdered).
  • Someone wraps wire around a woman's neck, severely injuring her (we see Julia tending to her and holding her hand over the bloody wound with blood running out between her fingers).
  • A sniper assassinates Wu, with some blood splattering onto others.
  • Shaw chases that assassin who knocks down a woman during the chase. The assassin then shoots at Shaw before jumping through a rooftop glass window (which Shaw does as well). The two then fire shots at each other. Shaw then runs into and knocks over a bicyclist on the street.
  • Shaw hears what sounds like his partner being shot right before many cops and/or agents aim their guns at him.
  • A horseless carriage explodes, causing a police van to overturn. Assailants then approach and shoot several people inside at point blank range.
  • Shaw fights with several people inside a truck, hitting and kicking them and causing one to accidentally shoot the driver, apparently killing him. Shackled, Shaw eventually gets out of the truck and jumps onto the side of an adjacent and larger truck, from which he barely holds on just above the passing street below him. The passenger of the first truck then tries squashing Shaw between the trucks as they drive down a road until the first truck runs headfirst into the lift prongs of a large forklift, presumably killing the remaining few who were alive in that first truck.
  • Someone suddenly grabs Novak, holds a gun to her head and then has his arm around her throat. Shaw then arrives and the assailant shoots at him.
  • A man repeatedly shoots a person lying wounded on the floor beneath him (we see the body jump from the gunshots).
  • Shaw pushes a piano into a man, grabs and possibly breaks his arm and bends it back behind him. Shaw then shoots this man point blank in the back of the head. He then shoots the dead body one more time just for good measure.
  • We see a flashback of a man slamming a woman against a mirrored wall several times, eventually smashing her headfirst into it (after she hits him in the face).
  • We see that two people have been killed and Shaw then briefly fights their killer, exchanging some gunfire before breaking the woman's neck.
  • Shaw drives a car into a diner, tearing through the outside wall and some of the interior furnishings, all to grab a backpack containing an explosive. He then puts the backpack into the car, puts it into reverse and sends it back out onto the street where it explodes.
  • Acting like an FBI agent, Shaw pushes a man's face down onto a table before acting like he's arresting him. Moments later, he holds his gun on Cappella before making his getaway.
  • We see the ambassador's assassination several times on video.
  • Shaw sets off an explosive that knocks out power to a building. He then holds his gun on a man, bends his arm back behind him, and then slams him into a wall.
  • A man shoots another man, apparently killing him. Shaw then chases the man who shoots back at him and Shaw fires back.
  • A person kicks Shaw, nearly making him fall from an overhang. Moments later, men then come out and shoot machine guns at Shaw, who must quickly duck to avoid being hit by a large truck.
  • To get Cappella's attention, Shaw fires a shot that lops off the top of his assistant's umbrella.
  • An unidentified person breaks a security guard's neck.
  • Shaw shoots out a surveillance camera.
  • A man punches and knocks out a woman. He then tries to shoot a man stuck in a revolving door, but the bulletproof glass deflects the bullets.
  • Shaw and the villain repeatedly fire at each other with their guns (but miss), and then get into a fight where many punches and kicks are thrown and landed, as well as some knees to the body and some slamming of bodies against a wall. They then break through a glass wall and land in the lobby of a building where they then struggle over a gun that's eventually fired with the ricochet hitting a man in the face.
  • More fighting then continues with a person eventually landing on some broken glass (we see a shard of it sticking out from his neck).
  • A person shoots another person dead.
  • FBI agents shoot a man, apparently killing him (although we later learn that's not true).



  • Reviewed August 24, 2000 / Posted August 25, 2000

    Other new and recent reviews include:

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