The Art Of War (2000)

(On DVD, May 2003) Well, well, well, isn’t that interesting: An American action thriller financed by a Canadian production company, directed by a French-Canadian, in which an African-American agent, along with a Chinese translator, must save the United Nations from the imperialistic plans of two white Caucasian Americans. Imagine that. The only anomaly is Donald Sutherland in a good-guy role –but then again he’s also a Canadian actor. Premise apart, the film itself is interesting but routine, a competent thriller with some visual flourishes and a few geopolitical twists. Wesley Snipes is rather good as the protagonist, and so it Marie Matiko as the bespectacled heroine all sinophiles will enjoy. Two particularly interesting sequences include a car chase with a nasty finish and a hallway sequence whose “visible bullets” effects seem directly inspired by The Matrix. (It’s a good scene, but its visual style isn’t found anywhere else in the film.) Moves at a decent pace and seems to think on a more global level than usual for an action thriller. Not a bad choice at all.

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