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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday July 28, 2020 


Shaw (Wesley Snipes) is an operative for a secret United Nations unit. His success doesnít go unnoticed and although this pleases his boss Eleanor Hooks (Anne Archer), itís something of a sticky issue for UN Secretary-General Douglas Thomas (Donald Sutherland). But things get decidedly more sticky when the Chinese ambassador Wu (James Hong) is assassinated during a routine surveillance operation conducted by Shaw and his regular partner Bly (Michael Beihn). On the run, he hooks up with interpreter Julia (Marie Matiko) whose life is also threatened. With Triad killers, the FBI and a shadowy assassin on their tails, Shaw must try to save a major trade deal with China, as well as Julia and his own skin.

"First off, letís get one thing straight - The Art of War is trash. As "B" as B-pictures get (notwithstanding its A-list star), thereís not a shred of credibility in the story. The whole exercise is simply an excuse for Wesley Snipes to strut his action hero stuff. But itís still enjoyable - in much the same way as reading The National Enquirer can be enjoyable. Filled with whizz-bang technology, a series of ever shadier villains and enough explosions, shootings, martial arts moves and broken glass to make two or three Jackie Chan movies, The Art of War is all gloss but little guts. The plot is frankly ridiculous and is way too muddled for its own good. Itís not even too difficult to work out who the bad guys are if youíre prepared to think a little. My advice is donít bother. Just go with the flow and donít bother with plot, characterisation and believability as theyíre largely missing. Snipes cuts a fine figure as Shaw but the role is hardly a stretch for him. Anne Archer and Donald Sutherland donít get much to do; while Marie Matiko as Julia makes a feisty but under-utilised heroine. The pick of the cast is Maury Chaykin as FBI agent Capella. He brings a much-needed laconic charm and dry humour to the project. While The Art of War is most definitely trash, it has enough surface flash to make it a reasonable diversion for 110 minutes. Just donít take it seriously."
David Edwards

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CAST: Wesley Snipes, Anne Archer, Maury Chaykin, Marie Matiko, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Michael Biehn, Donald Sutherland

DIRECTOR: Christian Duguay

PRODUCER: Nicolas Clermont

SCRIPT: Wayne Beach, Simon Barry (story by Wayne Beach)


EDITOR: Michel Arcand

MUSIC: Normand Corbeil


RUNNING TIME: 117 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 12, 2000

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