Rules Of Engagement (2000)

(On VHS, August 2001) Egawd. If you’re going to make a thriller, at least make sure that there are a few thrills in it. If you’re going to make a drama, make sure there’s drama in it. Heck, if you’re going to make a movie, make sure there’s something in it that might interest me. Rules Of Engagement throws a little bit of this (a Vietnam prologue that might seem incredibly important, but really isn’t and might have been taken care of with one of two extra lines of dialogue), a little bit of that (like a big action scene that is not interesting. At all.), some more of this (ooh! Government conspiracy!) and some more of that (Rrrr… Courtorrom drama). That the film withholds crucial information isn’t even a cheat; it becomes only a pale irritant when you don’t care at all about what’s happening. Oh, and the cathartic shot of the little girl holding a gun… got a huge laugh from the three Sauvé siblings, assorted with cries of disbelief at the blatant manipulation. Even if Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson and Guy Pearce all do a good job, they just can’t save this borefest. Checking the credits, it’s no surprise to find that this is an original story by James Webb, author of one of my least favorite military thrillers of the nineties, Something to Die For. Now he strikes again, this time on movies. Gawd, viewers, just go watch something else, okay?

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