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Overall Rating

Awesome: 1.52%
Worth A Look: 10.61%
Average: 9.09%
Pretty Bad: 27.27%
Total Crap51.52%

6 reviews, 30 user ratings

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Art of War, The
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by Scott Weinberg

"If Wesley Snipes were TWICE as cool as he thinks he is...he'd still suck."
1 stars

I don't even know where to begin. Asking someone to review this movie is like asking a food critic to judge an empty plate. Aside from some characters and subplots lifted whole from other movies, The Art of War is simply bereft of anything of note, unless of course the demise of Wesley Snipes' film career simply fascinates you.

Apparently content to stock his resume with the worst theatrical releases possible, Wesley Snipes returns again in The Art of War. Anyone hoping that this one would be an improvement on his TV movie-esque Murder at 1600 would be sorely disappointed. Wes, we realize that it's not easy adhering to those pesky studio contracts, but maybe you should part putting the good scripts on the TOP of the pile.

The law of averages state the if an actor makes ten films, at least TWO of them should be good. (OK, maybe the law of averages doesn't state that, but it suits my needs in this case.) Thanks almost entirely to Wesley Snipes, moviegoers around the world were treated to such cinematic flotsam as Play it to the Bone, Blade, U.S. Marshals, One Night Stand, Murder at 1600, Drop Zone, Money Train, Boiling Point, Demolition Man, Passenger 57 and The Fan. (OK, Blade was fun, but let's not go crazy here.)

Now, maybe I'm no studio executive, but that sure is a lot of shitty movies. So here Wes is again with another 'espionage thriller'! Yawn. In his latest movie, Wesley is a smooth-talkin', ass-kickin' good guy. His characters are often men of very few words, partially because the screenwriters are usually glorified interns and mainly because Wesley Snipes is (and I'm being kind here) not a good actor. His general mood onscreen is best described as 'uninterested and sleepy', and the only signs of life are when he's required to enact some ridiculously choreographed 'karate chop move'. Hey, it's 2001. When can we expect a series of unconvincing 'karate chop moves' to stop being the basis for an entire feature film?

Wesley plays Neil Shaw (quite the name for a tough guy - take THAT, Indiana Jones!) and Neil is a secret agent working for the UN...I think. I think because that's the way the script initially introduces him, but his whole "job" thing seems to not be really important. He has a "partner" (Michael Biehn) and a "boss" (Anne Archer), but none of the scenes between these characters ever adds up to anything resembling a "plot". There seems to be a whole lot about Asian refugees and some UN treaty, but these factors are treated like the lazy plot devices they so obviously are, and what we're left with is Wesley Snipes running around a whole lot, shooting people and showcasing his 'karate chop moves'.

Unfortunately for any project that includes Wesley Snipes, Wes likes to act as his own producer. Basically, what that means is that Wes can do whatever he wants in the film to make himself look cooler. If it means having the camera linger on his ass instead of say - a speeding bus - then so be it. If Wesley doesn't feel like bothering with all those pesky 'lines of dialogue', then he'll just mutter, glower and pout his way through his movies. Watching The Art of War is like watching Wesley Snipes filming himself as he works out or models clothes. It's just impossible for an audience to love him as he much as he does.

All the action scenes are completely listless. Every plot 'twist' is telegraphed about 45 minutes ahead of time. The cast is uniformly awful, with Anne Archer standing out as the performer who most looks like they're reading from cue cards. The visual style is best described as MTV meets CNN, while director Christian Duguay (Screamers, Scanners 2 AND Scanners 3) consistently mistakes neon lights & fog machines for characters & plot. The dialogue sounds like something out of a bad TV-movie, which is certainly what The Art of War feels like, from top to bottom. All that and the movie is just a boring, unentertaining and endlessly derivative pile of junk.

If you think I'm being a bit too hard on Wesley, then you go out and rent Murder at 1600 AND The Art of War. Spend your $7.00 at the video store, invest your time in these films, gather your thoughts and then you'll see what I mean. The Wesley Snipes connection is NOT a coincidence.

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originally posted: 01/06/01 19:11:01
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User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell not a bad flick 3 stars
2/05/12 Orson I enjoy ROOTING for the villains~they were obviously right!! 4 stars
1/26/10 art ONLY HIGHLIGHT is when MARIE MATIKO STRIP"S! 2 stars
8/28/08 Shaun Wallner The Action was Amazing! 4 stars
3/02/08 Pamela White uneven performance 2 stars
8/07/07 David Graham not bad but more like the art of crap. 2 stars
6/10/05 JD A decent enough movie, worth a look. 4 stars
2/21/05 Jeff Anderson The film looks great & Snipes is in good energized form. A PRETTY GOOD FILM OVERALL! 4 stars
2/17/04 Stefan Halka After a promising beginning, it's all downhill in plot and action. 3 stars
5/12/03 Jack Bourbon They may as well have shot the producers stroking Snipes' lubricated Alabama blacksnake for 2 stars
3/04/03 Jack Sommersby An unexpected delight. Kinetic action, good plotting, and a winning Snipes. 4 stars
4/01/01 fishie not bad, but i've seen better. 3 stars
1/08/01 The Democratic Darkness It wasn't good, nor was it bad, but the action scenes were either GREAT or EXTREMELY GOOFY. 3 stars
1/04/01 NoStringsAttached The Art of War MY ARSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
1/01/01 John Lyons Okay, but could have done without the racial slant. 3 stars
12/02/00 Phil Art of CRAP . . . Wanted action, got bore-fest. 1 stars
10/02/00 Image its not Wesleys greatest...but wuzn't that bad either!! 4 stars
9/18/00 Bueller A cliche. Whenever they 'aparently' kill a heroes' buddy, he always comes back as a villan. 2 stars
9/06/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble My prostitute cousin has a pimp who could have starred in this flick. And did a better job. 1 stars
9/03/00 Franklin Pure Ish 1 stars
9/02/00 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Stay home & water your Chia Pet... 1 stars
9/02/00 Merripen dear gawd, has it really come to this? Don't bother. 1 stars
9/01/00 paul C Typical summer fare: Great action. So-so plot and dialog. 4 stars
8/31/00 Stunned Moviegoer Oh my god this sucked, but I knew it would. Worse than Coyote Ugly, if you can believe it 1 stars
8/30/00 jon j boo 1 stars
8/29/00 Greyjack Astonishingly mediocre. The most derivative, unoriginal film I've seen in ages. 2 stars
8/29/00 Ken damn enjoyable 5 stars
8/29/00 Hollywood Hangover Forced, unapologitic references to Sun Tzu in order to pilfer cool title. 'Nuff said? 1 stars
8/28/00 Captain Highcrime Same old, same twists or surprises in this not-really-New York shootup. 3 stars
8/26/00 Clifton Hyre Total waste of an evening! 1 stars
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  25-Aug-2000 (R)


  19-Oct-2000 (MA)

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