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
The U.S.S. Wake Island LHA-7 is fictional, and not an actual U.S. Navy ship. The ship seen in the movie is actually the U.S.S. Tarawa LHA-1. See more »
Several strange things about the inability of anyone to testify that the crowd was armed and hostile. First, Colonel Childers' initial orders were to engage hostile targets, to which Red Six replied that there were women and children in the line-of-fire (tacitly admitting that there were hostile targets). Childers' reply was to question whether or not Red Six heard the order. Red Six requests clarification, asking if he is to fire into the crowd, and Childers replies "Yes, Goddamn it!" This exchange was taped and used in the trial. The problem is that Red Six is the one who first mentions the crowd, in direct response to Childers' order to engage hostile targets. By inference, he stated that there were hostile targets in the crowd. See more »
Colonel Hayes Hodges:
[final arguments of the defense]
Colonel Hayes Hodges:
[presenting a photo of the embassy to juries]
That is sovereign United States territory as much as if it were in Ohio or Maryland. Colonel Childers didn't volunteer to go over there, he was ordered to go over there because he was the best man for the job. We armed him, we trained him, we sent him over there to risk his life to save other Americans and then ask him not to return fire? There are over three hundred bullet holes in this building. Colonel Childers ...
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"Rules of Engagement" from 2000 is a fairly derivative film. Directed by William Friedkin, it's the story of two men, Colonel Terry Childers (Samuel L. Jackson), a 30-year Marine veteran and decorated officer; and Colonel Hayes Hodges (Tommy Lee Jones), now an attorney, a man with whom he fought and whose life he saved in Vietnam and has retired.
Childers is sent on a rescue mission in Yemen that goes awry when the protesting crowd outside the embassy starts shooting at the Marines. Childers, who already has men down, orders his soldiers to fire into the crowd. He is able to evacuate the embassy but finds himself in trouble due to the fact that no one believes the protesters had weapons. He is put on trial and asks Hodges to defend him. Hodges doesn't feel he's a good enough attorney, but he agrees to take the case.
There is a tape of what happened, but the head of security (Bruce Greenwood) who doesn't want the United States to take the rap for killing civilians and would rather have it fall on a soldier, burns it. And Childers gets no support from the Ambassador (Ben Kingsley) or his wife (Anne Archer), and the attorney on the other side (Guy Pearce) is out for blood.
We've seen this film in various guises before, and the good versus evil is typical Hollywood. The acting is good but I have difficulty understanding the casting of Ben Kingsley, a great Oscar-winning actor, who is completely wasted in what is not even really a supporting role. Anne Archer plays his wife. The two have a small son and have been married for ten years. May I suggest that though it's entirely feasible that Archer at 43 had a child, the casting seems a little off. Often, when directors want a certain actor, the agency representing them agrees on the condition that the director take other people on his roster. I suspect this is what happened here; the casting is not quite right for these distinguished actors.
Tommy Lee Jones in particular is good as Hodges, though he has the showier role. Samuel Jackson is always very good and gives a strong performance as well, but there's something very stereotypical about both parts. Bruce Greenwood at least is interesting casting - he seems pretty mild-mannered as the Head of Security, but there's a treachery underneath.
All in all, this is an okay film, one where you know how it's going to end and basically what's going to happen while it's going on. We see two stars who have done their roles before in other circumstances. So in the end, while it has its moments, it's somewhat routine. One of those if you've seen one, you've seen them all type films.
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