IMDb > Art of War (2009) (TV)

Art of War (2009) (TV) More at IMDbPro »


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Release Date:
3 May 2009 (USA) See more »
Plot:
Documentary on the main principles of Sun Tsu "Art of War" illustrated with examples from the second world war, the Vietnam war and the American civil war. | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
With Hindsight We Could All Be Sun Tsu See more (2 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
James Lurie ... Narrator (voice)

James Wong ... Sun Tzu
Toshishiro Obata ... King Helu

Andrew Amani ... Nang Wa

Megan Le ... Vietnamese Woman (as Megan Nguyen)

Cazzey Louis Cereghino ... Surgeon (as Cazzey Cereghino)
Tyler Dixon ... Union Patient
Charles Currier ... Alfred Owen
Malay Choeung Kim ... Asian Fighter
Tommy Leng ... Asian Fighter (as Tommy Leung)

Eliver Ling ... Asian Fighter
Thin Sam ... Asian Fighter
D.Y. Sao ... Asian Fighter
Justin Vancho ... Asian Fighter
Xj Wang ... Asian Fighter (as X.J. Wang)
Johnny Yang ... Asian Fighter
Amanda Klein ... Chinese Courtesan
Aoni Ma ... Chinese Courtesan
Sherry Shaoling ... Chinese Courtesan

Jeaneen Tang ... Chinese Courtesan

Serein Wu ... Chinese Courtesan

Jeffery A. Baker ... Soldier
Kristopher Blount ... Soldier

Joshua Bradley ... Soldier

Brian Danner ... Fighter

Nathan Hedrick ... Oberleutnant Hauptmann

David C. Hernandez ... Fighter (as David Hernandez)

Paul Jacobson ... General
Rusty Locke ... Soldier
Hunter Marks ... Soldier

Bryan McGowan ... Soldier
Kevin Moran ... Soldier
Samuel J. Paul ... Soldier

Gavin Perry ... Soldier

Mike Pfaff ... Soldier
Bryce Przychodniecz ... Soldier
Scott Roukema ... Soldier
Michael Triplett ... Soldier

Daniel R. Wolfe ... Soldier (as Dan Wolfe)
Mark McNeilly ... Himself - Author
Andrew R. Wilson ... Himself - Professor of Strategy and Policy (as Andrew R. Wilson PhD)
Foo Check Teck ... Himself - Author (as Professor Foo Check Teck PhD)
Richard Gabriel ... Himself - Distinguished Professor (as Richard A. Gabriel PhD)
Bevin Alexander ... Himself - Author
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Directed by
David Padrusch  (as David W. Padrusch)
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
David Baeumler 
David Padrusch 

Produced by
Ashlee Cohen .... line producer
Jennifer Gibson .... assistant producer
Gabriel Gornell .... executive producer
Meredith Honig .... producer
Marissa Lee .... producer
David Padrusch .... executive producer
Ami Storck .... assistant producer
Kristal Williams .... assistant producer (as Kristal Williams-Rowley)
 
Original Music by
Stuart Kollmorgen (original score music)
 
Cinematography by
Michael Parry 
 
Film Editing by
David Baeumler 
David Padrusch 
 
Costume Design by
Christy Marie Hauptman 
 
Makeup Department
Michelle Chung .... key makeup artist
Liz Pisano .... makeup supervisor
Hugo Villasenor .... makeup supervisor
 
Sound Department
Lou Esposito .... sound effects editor
Ryan Heiferman .... sound re-recording mixer
 
Special Effects by
Chris Wirth .... special effects
 
Visual Effects by
Gabriel Hall .... visual effects artist
Thomas Horvath .... visual effects artist
Jon Jovich .... digital compositor
Daniel Land .... visual effects artist
Chris Wirth .... creative director
 
Stunts
Andrew Amani .... utility stunts
Jeffery A. Baker .... utility stunts
Kristopher Blount .... utility stunts
Joshua Bradley .... fight choreographer
Joshua Bradley .... utility stunts
Tamiko Brownlee .... utility stunts
Jefferson Cox .... utility stunts
Brian Danner .... sword fight choreographer: fight arranger
Nathan Hedrick .... utility stunts
David C. Hernandez .... utility stunts
Paul Jacobson .... utility stunts
Malay Choeung Kim .... stunts
Megan Le .... utility stunts (as Megan Nguyen)
Rusty Locke .... utility stunts
Bryan McGowan .... utility stunts
Kevin Moran .... utility stunts
Samuel J. Paul .... utility stunts
Gavin Perry .... utility stunts
Mike Pfaff .... utility stunts
Bryce Przychodniecz .... utility stunts
Scott Roukema .... utility stunts
Thin Sam .... utility stunts
Paul Anthony Scott .... utility stunts
Tony Sre .... utility stunts
Michael Triplett .... utility stunts
Michael Triplett .... utility stunts
Daniel R. Wolfe .... utility stunts
Johnny Yang .... utility stunts
 
Animation Department
Mike Gregg .... animator
 
Editorial Department
Jim Akimchuk .... assistant editor
Daniel Lance .... assistant editor
Kristal Williams .... assistant editor (as Kristal Williams-Rowley)
 
Music Department
Stuart Kollmorgen .... composer: additional music
Stuart Kollmorgen .... composer: theme music
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies
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Additional Details

Runtime:
USA:120 min (including commercials) | USA:91 min (excluding commercials)
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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
With Hindsight We Could All Be Sun Tsu, 25 December 2011
Author: HeadMMoid from United States

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Art of War is another of Four In Hand Entertainment Group's shows which are best classified as history-for-the-uneducated-masses. The graphics are generally good (which is not always typical for shows of this type), although their applicability and quality decline as the show progresses. The accompanying photographs and video actually match the subjects which they illustrate (which is definitely not typical for such shows). Unfortunately, the show uses decidedly second rate experts.

Where the show fails the most, is in the writing. As with all similar shows, it has a point, and manipulates history to support that point, right; wrong, or not too inaccurate enough to be disbelieved. The heart of the problem with the script is; either the writers did not understand what the experts told them when preparing the script; or the "experts" weren't very good in their attempts to apply Sun Tsu's principles. Listening to the experts' comments, there seems to be at least as much of the latter as the former.

A number of Sun Tsu's principles are presented sequentially. After each is introduced, it is typically followed by a CGI/re-enacted demonstration of how Sun Tsu used this in war. Then, a more modern (19th or 20th century) example is examined, showing how the principle was followed or violated.

The show claims that Sun Tsu's principles of military strategy are universal; but it fails to point out that attempting to apply the principles to any one specific situation before the fact, is, at best, extremely difficult (which is why professional military officers are employed). However, it is fairly easy to sit back and criticize the historic decisions after the fact (which is how many military historians, like those on the show, make part of their livings).

Each of the individual segments of the show could have its multiple faults addressed in detail, but two examples will be used here to save space.

First, is the concept of "death ground". A principle of Sun Tsu is to put you troops on "death ground" and they will have no fear. According to the show, that is what was done at the D-Day landings. The first problem with this, is that the position of Allied troops on the beaches of D-Day was not consistent with what Sun Tsu describes. It might look like it to someone who does not know the more detailed history of the planning for D-Day (i.e., the targeted viewer), but the troops were not on sun Tsu's "death ground", and were not motivated by the desperation and the lack of retreat which Sun Tsu's strategy invokes. A second problem is that Sun Tsu's principle can only be discerned in a battle selectively after the fact. The idea is to place troops in a position from which there is no retreat in order to inspire them to courageous combat. If such troops are victorious, the experts rush to point out how Sun Tsu's concept works so well. If such troops are defeated, experts rush to point out what a fool the commander was, to place his army in a position from which they could not retreat. The real lesson from this segment of the show? Critics show how a commander violated Sun Tsu's concepts; professionals learn Sun Tsu, but deal with reality as it confronts them.

Second, is the critique of General Lee's actions prior to the Battle of Gettysburg. The expert claimed that Lee violated one of Sun Tsu's principles by letting operational developments override strategic goals. So, once the movements of the Union army became known, Lee gathered his troops around Cashtown and Gettysburg. It seems like an obvious failure by the general who lost the battle. But, the commentator later criticizes Lee for failing to react to developments in the field, directly contradicting their own expert. Further, had Lee not gathered his army, he would have been criticized by the same expert for failing to concentrate his force in the face of the enemy, especially a larger enemy force. It is easy to criticize the actions of a general in the field and to pick which of Sun Tsu's principles were violated when one has 20-20 hindsight. This applies to each of the segments of the show.

Unfortunately, each of the segments addressing one of Sun Tsu's principles contains the same set of problems; questionable selection of examples, questionable interpretations of the principles, and the application of 20-20 hindsight without regard to what generals knew at the time.

Is The Art of War worth watching? Yes. But do so with a clear understanding that it has a specific and restricted point of view, and it is at best, only an extremely limited starting point for understanding Sun Tsu's military concepts. If it gets someone started on further study, then it has accomplished something good. If someone watches it and things they now know something useful, they are fooling themselves.

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