Rules Of Engagement (2000)
Review Date: April 05, 2000
Director: William Friedkin
Writer: Stephen Gaghan
Producers: Scott Rudin, Richard Zanuck
Samuel L. Jackson as Terry
Tommy Lee Jones as Hayes
A highly decorated Marine and his troops are sent into Yemen with orders to oversee an apparently peaceful demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy. When Marines start dropping like flies, the Colonel orders his troops to fire into the crowd of demonstrators, slaying many an innocent victim. It isn't long before the entire world is up in arms about the incident and demanding justice. At this point, the U.S. government puts the Colonel on trial for murder and the rest, as they say, is...well, a court case.
An okay movie submitting nothing unique to the genre, sprinkled in some decent drama, involving points of view, solid telegraphed performances from its leads and an ending which surprisingly had me paying attention. Don't get me wrong, you won't catch me running around trying to tell the world about this film, but if you're into this kind of movie, like the actors, and enjoy watching films which don't really offer any visible right or wrongs, this might just be the trip for you. It's really more of a "video movie" than anything else. In fact, despite being intrigued by everything which led up to the ending, I felt kind of blah about the whole thing afterwards. Not exactly sure why I felt that way, but I've deduced it down to the fact that the film really didn't cover any fresh ground or the thing about the extra salsa on my nachos.
Either way, the film does deliver a couple of riveting action sequences, with the whole "fire at the demonstrators" scene topping that cake, a decent pace, which doesn't bog itself down with too much legal mumbo-jumbo and an interesting plot, in that it never really crucifies one person as the proverbial "bad guy", thereby leaving the audience with the opportunity to form their own opinions of Jackson's dilemma. Granted, Anne Archer looks like a mess, Ben Kingsley is barely in the film and Guy Pearce does an incredibly annoying/convincing Brooklyn accent, but aside from the staple Jackson "screaming aloud" scenes, the gist of the film was quite convincing. All in all, you won't find the word "original" in this review (doh!), but if you're looking for a decent bi-polar story, a couple of good action scenes, a generally compelling courtroom case and one goofy sequence featuring Jackson/Jones duking it out as two old has-beens, than it might be just be worth checking out for yourself. For me...it was an okay movie. That's it. That's all. Next!
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian