Published on May 13th, 2008 | by Chris0
Rules of Engagement (2000)
In the vein of such military courtroom dramas as A Few Good Men and The Caine Mutiny, comes Rules of Engagement. The short version: One Marine Corps. Col. Terry Childers (Samuel L. Jackson) must defend his decision to fire on a crowd of protestors at the US Embassy in Yemen. Defending him is his buddy since Vietnam, who was saved by Childers in a nasty battle there, Col. Hayes Hodges (Tommy Lee Jones.)
At the core of Rules of Engagement is the entire principle of the boundaries of war. In fact one of the characters spells it out quite clearly, "There's a thin line between a war hero and a murderer." Or something to that effect. Childers has to make the best decision he can, knowing full well the consequences. Which are plentiful.
There's also an entire subplot which never really resolves itself, namely the destruction of a security camera tape which would exonerate Childers. I kept expecting a copy of the tape to surface, or something which might put that plot-line into place, but it never happens. I suppose we're to take away that it didn't matter much in the first place. That Childers' years of meritorious service and lack of damning evidence prevails... Got me.
Of course the best thing about Rules of Engagement is quite frankly the chemistry between Jackson and Jones. Two superb actors who do not fail to impress, put them both together with an excellent director (William Friedkin) and the result is nothing short of impressive.
Consider also that Rules of Engagement comes out in 2000, and deals with issues facing our troops every day in a post 9/11 world. There are of course other concepts, such as the line that separates enemy from friend, and what actions we take. Particularly when the prosecution brings out an NVA officer from Childers' time in Vietnam.
Yeah, there's the entire politics and State Department cover-up angle... but again, it just doesn't play out quite like it should.
Ultimately, as you might guess, Childers gets out of the mess with nary a scratch. Well, except for a minor charge, just so he doesn't get off scott-free. But there's something less-than-satisfying about it. I was like, "What? That's it?" I fully expected more to come of the above video tape plot, more from the ambassador's wife, etc. etc. Those little things that are brought up and then forgotten. Sure they get a mention in the 'After the movie...' ending plates (personally I don't like them....) but that doesn't much count.
Those little nitpicks don't prevent me from giving Rules of Engagement some high marks. Not solely on the skill of Jackson's and Jones' acting, but the entire package, even with the above problems.
Rules of Engagement
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Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson deliver electrifying performances in this ""tense, superbly-directed and top-drawer drama""* about what happens when the rules that command a soldier become the rules that condemn him...
DVD InformationBinding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Brand: JONES,TOMMY LEE
Original Release Date:
- Tommy Lee Jones
- Samuel L. Jackson
- Guy Pearce
Super movie, less language.,
This review is from: Rules of Engagement (Amazon Video)
I wish the language would be curbed. I know its an older film, but come on. No reason for trash mouths to ruin a perfectly good film. The story is true in more ways than one, it really happened, and it just goes to show you the extent our goverment is willing to go to cover their own backs. Sad, but true.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Better Appreciated by the Men/Women who've served.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Rules of Engagement (DVD)
This movie has an excellent protrayal on present day combat. Today's wars are no longer fought in fields and jungles, but in towns and cities. The director's depiction of the Marine Officer's cool under fire attitude, was excellent. Though hard for most people to swallow, the Government is definately quick to point fingers, in order to save face. (Another excellent "fictional" example of this, is the movie Clear and Present Danger.) The only bad points about the movie, are the way they produced the Vietnam Officer, and the ending that left you hoping for some last minute action. Over all, this movie was an excellent example of the US Marines' Commanding Presence in any situation. You make the choice to buy, but it's definately worth watching once.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Powerful and believable.,
This review is from: Rules of Engagement (DVD)This is a powerful movie that closely examines the problem faced by every trial lawyer: how do you bring the reality of what really happened into a courtroom. Facts appear different in court. And of course often one side does everything it can, and more than it should, to distort "objective truth" to the extent that it exists. That is what this movie is about.
The movie deals with a combat marine (Samuel L. Jackson) who rescues the staff of the besieged American embassy in Yemen. Things get ugly and people die. Was he a trigger-happy war criminal, or was he doing his duty in a damnable situation? That is the question that the movie examines. Tommy Lee Jones is very good as the defense attorney, and Jackson does his customary excellent job.
The premise is unfortunately very believable. There are many technical defects in the court-martial that will offend any trial lawyers watching the movie (during opening and closing Jones makes many personal references... Read more
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Summary: the best thing about Rules of Engagement is quite frankly the chemistry between Jackson and Jones. Two superb actors who do not fail to impress, put them both together with an excellent director (William Friedkin) and the result is nothing short of impressive.