Despite being quite predictable The Art of War has a first rate cast and an interesting story that should keep your interest in between Wesley Snipes kicking ass and taking names.
Plot: He is both agent and weapon – a critical line of defense for the Secretary General of the United Nations. He does not even officially exist. Neil Shaw, an American agent who must uncover an international plot to bring down the United Nations on the eve of an historic summit with China. A mysterious chain of events leads to the murder of the Chinese U.N. Ambassador. When Shaw is accused of the crime, he must go underground — in effect, vanish from his own life.
Review: I’ve always thought Wesley Snipes was so much better than a lot of the movies he’s starred in; he made a niche for himself in many B action movies and I have no problem with that as they were usually pretty entertaining. I just think he should be in bigger budget fare that people actually go to see in the theatre as he is a fantastic actor capable of so much more.
The Art of War is one of said B movies that isn’t particularly spectacular or memorable but it has an excellent cast and intriguing story.
The cast not only has Snipes but includes Donald Sutherland, Michael Biehn, Anne Archer and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. They all do the best with what they are given but the story was rather predictable with certain “twists” you could see coming in the first 15 minutes. The script is also pretty forgettable but there are a few moments from Snipes where he gets to display his cheeky sense of humour which he has in real life. This gives Neil Shaw a bit more personality than you’d maybe expect in an action thriller like this and I got the feeling that some of those scenes were improvised by Snipes himself.
As awesome as it was to see Donald Sutherland in the movie he didn’t really have much to do and was nothing more than a spineless politician.
The Art of War has some well-done action scenes and impressive stuntwork. The final fight between Snipes and (the not very surprising) villain was the action highlight and satisfyingly violent.
The plot is still pretty relevant today as it tries to juggle the complex world of US/Chinese relations which seems to be on the news every other day of late. It tries to keep it interesting while keeping the pacing going because let’s face it, when watching a straight to video film with Wesley Snipes we want to watch him beat people up and for the most part this delivers. It almost feels like a sequel to U.S. Marshalls as this once again has him on the lam and using his special set of skills to survive.
Overall, despite being quite predictable The Art of War has a first rate cast and an interesting story that should keep your interest in between Wesley Snipes kicking ass and taking names. I say we bring him back as Blade though as I want to see Snipes on the big screen again…