New York City police detective John Shaft (nephew of the original 1970s detective) goes on a personal mission to make sure the son of a real estate tycoon is brought to justice after a racially-motivated murder.
Samuel L. Jackson,
Hayes Hodges finds his career aspirations dashed when he's wounded in Vietnam combat. He then returns to America and becomes a disillusioned lawyer who goes up against the service to defend Colonel Terry Childers, who is accused of inciting an incident that leaves many demonstrators dead. Hodges in no position to decline: Childers heroically saved his life back in Vietnam. Written by
Having just watched Rules Of Engagement, I have to say that although Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones are a joy to watch, I have to make some negative comments about this movie.
The movie is extremely manipulative, and comes from the equally manipulative director of The French Connection, William Friedkin. The movie's bad guys, oddly enough, are a crowd of irrational arabs, together with career politicians who won't just let military men do what they have to do.
The problem with the entire scenario is that the entire massacre could have been prevented with a couple of well aimed teargass grenades. Secondly, not a lot of time is spent on the character development of the 'bad guys', namely the Yemenis (in this case), who all seem to be very eager to die killing Americans, including their (the Yemeni's) toddlers. The later images of the little girl shooting a pistol is very manipulative indeed ("oh, see, she deserved to get her leg shot off after all!").
And thirdly, the incident most like it, namely the US Army Rangers debacle in Mogadishu, caused the death of 18 Rangers but 1000 Somali Mogadishuans, most of which were non-combatants. No-one seems to have been called to task for that event, let alone be thrown to the lions to appease public opinion, like Samuel Jackson's character is over a "mere" 83 deaths. (The same thing can be said for the invasion of Panama, where there was a similar death toll among civilians - the truth of the matter is that since WWII, conventional weapons have become infinitely more efficient, with the result that if conflict breaks out in built-up areas, _lots_ of civilians are killed.)
However, the one redeeming value (other than the acting) is that it shines a light on the changed nature of the political war that is required of the modern soldier in places like Somalia, Bosnia, etc., and that started in Vietnam.
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