Rules of Engagement

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -3

Colonel Terry Childers (Samuel L. Jackson) is sent to Yemen to rescue the US Ambassador and his family from a volatile situation that quickly develops into a war zone. Childers and his men get the Ambassador out, but the Yemenis subsequently subject the Marines to weapons fire. As some of the Marines are shot and killed, the situation becomes desperate. Childers orders his men to fire into the hostile mob, even though it includes women and children. The superior firepower of the Marines is quickly evident as they mow down the crowd, killing and badly injuring hundreds. But when the US government investigates, they find no evidence of weaponry in the crowd, and Childers is put on trial for giving the order. He asks Hayes Hodges (Tommy Lee Jones), his best friend of 30 years, to defend him. Because Childers saved his life in the Vietnam War, Hodges accepts against his better judgment. Of course, Jackson and Jones are tremendous actors, and the battle scenes are quite compelling and nerve-wracking. Even though the story lacks originality, the well-known stars should prove to be fairly popular.

The movie explores the political question of how much decision-making power should be given to military leaders in the thick of battle. It also questions the influence and believability of media in international situations. In the film, instead of supporting Childers, the government puts him on trial for his decision. The trial is shown as a purely political decision in the wake of a media-spawned frenzy when details of the crowd killings are revealed. Hodges and Childers also exhibit great loyalty, as they remain committed to one another through problems and struggles. Frequent war violence occurs in this military drama. Several scenes depict events from both the Vietnam War and the confrontation in Yemen, each includes graphic shootings and explosions. During interrogation, one man is shot point blank in the head. Another scene takes place in a hospital after the tragedy in Yemen. Many wounded people, several with bloody injuries, line the hospital halls. Numerous characters use objectionable language, including 46 obscenities and 15 regular profanities, especially during intense battle scenes. Frequent foul language and graphic violence in RULES OF ENGAGEMENT are excessive and gratuitous

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
Paramount Pictures, 5555 Melrose Ave., LA, CA 90038

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 (16) times - Mild 10, moderate 6

Obscene Language: Many (46) times - F-word 26, s-word 18, other 2

Profanity: Many (15) times - Regular (GD 14, J 1)

Violence: Many times Moderate, sometimes graphic (people shot in war scenes, man shot in head, men fighting and punching, pictures of dead and wounded, hospital scene with many war wounds)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Few times (smoking, alcohol)

Other: Governments role in military operations explored; one character reminds others to not believe all they hear in the media, media can be misleading

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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