Art of War, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -3

Sun Tzu, an Asian general in 6th century B.C., wrote "The Art of War," his philosophies about conducting war, still studied today by military leaders, businessmen and politicians. Like tactics in a chess game, Sun Tzu believed that deception and strategic interventions could win wars without armies going into battle. By knowing your enemys strengths and weaknesses as well as your own, a key move could avert a war or start one with a rival faction. United Nations security chief Eleanor Hooks (Anne Archer) uses a team of covert agents, led by Neil Shaw (Wesley Snipes), to nudge negotiations in the right direction. Diplomacy, extortion and even assassination may be required to get the job done. But important trade negotiations with China could fall apart when the Chinese ambassador is killed and Shaw framed for the murder. This action-packed mystery will draw audiences in but both plot and action become too predictable.

Filled with some exciting stunts and graphic violence, this film fills the bill for action. Shaw parachutes from a tall building after several martial arts fights. Later, he takes part in a unique synchronized ballet of mayhem as he matches his opponent move for move and shot for shot with bullets artistically passing by the agents. Several shootings involve graphic blood splattering and one man dies with broken glass sticking out of his neck. One scene in a gentlemens club features breast and female rear nudity as naked dancers and prostitutes entertain clients. The scene also includes a pornographic video. One characters expresses anti-Chinese comments as she espouses radical extremist views about saving America for Americans. And Shaws team uses extortion and blackmail to force a leader back to the negotiation table, which seems to justify their illegal acts. With numerous vulgar phrases, gratuitous sexual content and gruesome violence, THE ART OF WAR is not a pretty picture.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Warner Bro., 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (13) times - Mild 2, moderate 11

Obscene Language: Many (18) times - F-word 12, s-word 6

Profanity: Several (8) times - Regular 7 (GD 3, J2, JC 2), exclamatory 1

Violence: Many times - Moderate and severe (martial arts kicks, punches, shootings, graphic wounds, pile of corpses in cargo box, choking, blood spurts/ spatters, close range shootings, car wrecks, neck broken, falls, glass/ mirrors shattered, man operates on own wound, man falls on broken glass - sticks in neck)

Sex: Once (pornographic video w/nudity); unconventional act briefly shown - no nudity

Nudity: Several times (breast nudity in photo, breast and female rear in gentlemens club, on sex video); Near Nudity - woman undresses in car - non-sexual (breasts covered by arm)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Woman goes under mans table, sexual comment, women sitting on mens laps in club - opening robes

Drugs: Several times - Alcohol at parties, cigarettes, truck driver snorts cocaine

Other: Blackmail and extortion used to encourage political settlements, anti-Chinese extremist policy - America for Americans only - espoused by woman

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.