cover

THE ART OF WAR

Do you know who your enemy is?

Do you care?

In this movie, Wesley Snipes plays Neil Shaw Wesley Snipes.

Wesley is a member of an ultra-secret UN special operations team which brings countries back to the bargaining table when mere diplomatic pressure Just Isn't Enough. We start off with Wesley at a New Year's Party in a skyscraper in Hong Kong. Apparently Madeleine Albright couldn't make it. There's a wicked North Korean army officer there, see. And Wesley is able to get film of the gent receiving oral sex under the table, so to speak. With this he will be able to blackmail the guy into negotiating with the West again.

Wow. Cool. He's got the same you-look-through-em eyeglasses as Tom Cruise had in the first Mission: Ridiculous movie.

Since Wesley is Totally Cool, and Really Good Looking, and Completely Incompetent he gets caught. He engages in a karate battle on a tabletop amidst all the revelers, then dives off a balcony with a sport parachute, much like the climax of the Sean Connery film Entrapment. (By a weird coincidence, the climax of Entrapment was also set at a Year 2000 New Year's Eve Party in an Oriental skyscraper. Wow!) A wicked (and incompetent) security guard fires down at him with a submachinegun. Since only one round hits Wesley, you have to ask where the other rounds went. He's firing down into a crowded street. Well, anyway, Wesley makes a getaway when the van full of his support folk are able to drive through the crowded city streets. I wonder how they did that.

After this lead-in, we get to the real plot, such as it is. There's this boatload of dead illegal Chinese immigrants, and there're the Chinese Triads, and the Chinese Communists, and there's this evil Chinese businessman, and ... are you seeing a pattern start to develop? Wesley was apparently put on the case because he looks so darned Chinese.

Anyway, a Chinese Ambassador gets assassinated, and Wesley is set up as the fall guy, and if you haven't figured out who the triggerman really was before the body hits the floor, this is the first action/adventure/spy/thriller/international conspiracy/doublecross/mess you've seen. There is a great deal of running around. You'll be happy to hear that it's entirely possible to jump down a thirty-foot vertical distance without getting hurt, without missing a beat, and without the normal laws of physics applying to you. Broken glass looks cool, rain looks cool, and leather looks cool. So ... if you can throw a guy wearing leather through a window into a rainstorm, you've got one seriously cool movie. Several car chases, foot chases, gun fights, karate fights, and explosions later, as the story slides through the plotholes like an Olympic skier going through a salom course, you expect the surviving characters to stop, look at one another, and start singing along with Country Joe, "And it's one, two three, what are we fighing for?/ Don't ask me, I don't give a damn ..."

In other movies, young ladies take showers for reasons not related to the plot. Here, our hero visits a Chinatown topless club for reasons not related to the plot. It's fortunate that he does so: otherwise the film wouldn't have had any naked women in it.

Since there was absolutely no reason for him to go to the strip club, he doesn't learn anything there that he didn't already know, and nothing that happens there advances the plot, the club appears to be in the film in order to demonstrate to the doubting world that Oriental women do, in fact, have nipples. It's necessary to do this because when Wesley makes his Oriental sidekick undress and throw all her clothes out of the passenger side window of a car, she manages to do it without revealing whether she has nipples.

Still, if those scenes hadn't been in the film ... they would have had to earn their R rating purely with bad language and violence.

I wonder about people who are hiding out from Evil Villains seeking them in New York City. Why do they hide in New York City rather than, say, Des Moines? The recent Shaft flick had the same problem.

You know how you can really tell this movie is in trouble? Near the end, when the villain develops a bad case of Fu Manchu's Disease and Explains Everything to the Hero before Killing Him, the first thought that comes to your mind is "Okay, sounds good to me. Carry on."

In this movie I learned that if you wear corrective lenses and you lose your glasses, that any random pair of glasses you pick up will be your prescription.

Remember the cool slo-mo bullet effects in The Matrix, that were run into the ground in Three Kings? They're back, in just one scene. They don't advance the plot, reveal character, or support the theme. Sure does look cool, though.

Good machineguns and exploding cars values. Easily twenty breasts. Wesley Snipes proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that he looks good in leather. He wins, gets the girl, and lives happily ever after. All the bad guys die.

Quel surprise.


More reviews.[Golden Key][Blue Ribbon]

10513