The Art of War

Review Date:
Director: Christian Duguay
Writer: Wayne Beach, Simon Davis Barry
Producers: Nicolas Clermont
Wesley Snipes
Maria Matiko
Anne Archer
An undercover UN agent who is an expert at expediting “international relations” gets caught in over his head when a Chinese ambassador’s assassination leaves him as the ultimate fall guy. Running away from everyone including the Chinese triad and the FBI, the fugitive hooks up with a translator girl who attempts to help him find the real masterminds behind the slaying, and clear him of all wrong-doings.
Despite its pretentious title, convoluted plot and overly serious tone, I chose to enjoy this film as an action-packed popcorn ride starring badass Wesley Snipes kicking butt all over the place, and by God…it worked! I do wish they would have cut about 20 minutes from this film and maybe even cut some of its dreary political dialogue, but I liked the movie despite some of its shortcomings, because it delivered a typically intense Snipes as a pretty cool James Bond/Ethan Hunt wannabe. So don’t go into this movie expecting an terribly interesting plot (you forget it all minutes after you walk out of the theatre), Oscar-caliber acting (Anne Archer walking the fine line between acting and over-acting) or unpredictable happenings (I guessed the “bad guy” about 12 minutes into the film). Go into this movie with the intention of seeing some pretty cool action scenes, plenty of gun play, Wesley kick-boxing everybody in sight and Maury Chaykin thankfully present as the much needed “comic relief”.

This film is violent, packs a punch and doesn’t really let up, save for a couple of downtimes in the middle. The director’s style is slick, very lively, a man who obviously enjoys the over-the-head shots and doesn’t mind utilizing the infamous MATRIX bullet zoom effect for added wattage either. The high tech game is another one that generally appeals to me, so enjoy I did the many cooky technological gadgeteries utilized by Snipes in his pursuit of the bad guys. It’s funny because I actually feel like I’m defending this movie in my review and I guess that could only mean one thing…yup, guilty-pleasure syndrome!! Perhaps it’s because I know that deep-down inside the film won’t hold up under closer scrutiny, doesn’t leave much room for unpredictability and washes its clothes in the same machine as many of the others, but what can I tell you…I enjoyed it! So if action is what you’re looking for, this flick should just about cover your bases. And the reason I haven’t mentioned either Michael Biehn or Donald Sutherland in this review is because either one doesn’t really have much to do in this film. But love it or leave it, I think we can all agree that Wesley Snipes is one charismatic actor who continues to hold your attention, no matter what the circumstances. And the Art of this Review is coming up with a typically idiotic play on the title way of finishing it off… 🙂

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian