|RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (director: William Friedkin; screenwriters: Stephen Gaghan/story by James Webb; cinematographers: Nicola Pecorini/William Fraker; editor: Augie Hess; music: Mark Isham; cast: Tommy Lee Jones (Col. Hays Hodges), Samuel L. Jackson (Col. Terry Childers), Guy Pearce (Maj. Mark Biggs), Bruce Greenwood (William Sokal), Blair Underwood (Captain Lee), Philip Baker Hall (Gen. H. Lawrence Hodges), Anne Archer (Mrs. Mourain), Ben Kingsley (Ambassador Mourain); Runtime: 127; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Richard D. Zanuck/Scott Rudin; Paramount; 2000)|
drama effectively combines combat and
potboiler courtroom drama."
by Dennis Schwartz
exciting military thriller straightly directed by
William Friedkin ("Good
Times"/"Bug"/"Killer Joe"). The drama effectively
combines combat and potboiler courtroom drama. The
screenplay is by TV writer Stephen Gaghan.
It's based on a story by the former infantry
commander James Webb, who would later become a
senator. Its familiar theme is to
honor the military view vs. the hostile view of some
civilians held since the unpopular Vietnam War.
story revolves around Col. Terry
Childers (Samuel L. Jackson),
who while serving in Vietnam valiantly saved the life
of Col. Hays Hodges (Tommy Lee Jones). We move
ahead 28 years later and Childer's charged with
the murder of 83 civilian Arab demonstrators
outside the US Embassy in Yemen.
Childers was ordered there to help evacuate Americans
from a hostile mob. The tragedy resulted in a volatile
Hodges is certain there are better lawyers, but he
can't refuse this case and comes out of retirement
determined to give it his best shot.
plot turns when the dastardly political National Security
Advisor William Sokal (Bruce Greenwood) tampers
with the evidence to make Childers the fall guy
and thereby removing any blame on the US
Guy Pearce is the
story is engaging enough, even if everything is
too measured and too over melodramatic for my
REVIEWED ON 7/5/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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