Shaw is an operative for the United Nations' covert dirty-tricks squad, using espionage and quasi-ethical tactics to secure peace and cooperation. When a shipping container full of dead ... See full summary »
Here is a vivid depiction of the ancient military treatise that has guided successful generals for 1500 years.
Not only is "The Art of War" relevant today, but, we ignore it at our peril, the filmmaker points out. And he offers evidence from the Vietnam, Civil and other wars to prove his point.
"Know yourself, and know your enemy, and in 100 battles you will never be in peril," author Sun Tzu advises.
An important message here is that understanding is far more potent than brawn. It's all about outwitting, not overpowering. In other words: "All warfare is deception...Let your plans be as dark as night -- then strike like a thunderbolt."
"A leader must have the moral will of the people behind him," the sage advises. Too bad Lyndon Johnson didn't understand this. His enemies in Vietnam apparently knew that the "ultimate strategic goal is to break the will of the enemy."
If one must fight, it should always be from a position of strength. Thus, Pickett's charge was doomed to fail at Gettysburg. Other fairly modern examples abound.
This film could have been dry and colorless; instead, it enlivens a formidable text with drama (i.e., the anecdote about the concubines) and relevance. It has left me eager to examine the original work.
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