Michael Biehn is one of the best underrated actors in the world, often appearing in an unfair amount of pap, but even more unfairly missing out on acclaim in superb performances in films such as The Terminator, The Abyss, Tombstone, and Aliens, while Wesley Snipes has a powerful on screen presence which few others can match. Sadly, each man appears to have passed their commercial peak by the time The Art Of War was released. Strangely enough, the film still managed to gross over $40 million, but against an excessive $60 million budget it was a flop. One imagines that had this been made 10 or 15 years earlier when the genre was at its peak this would have been much more successful. As it stands, it’s an entertaining enough action thriller with a few decent pieces and strong cast, but never stands out from its peers or becomes more than a simple, forgettable series of explosions and gun fights.
Snipes stars as a James Bond type figure, working undercover for the UN to prevent terrorism or something. The convoluted plot sees Snipes arrested by the police, framed by the Triads, and having to avoid all manner of authorities and criminals to both clear his name and stop the bad guys. I can’t even remember what the bad guys were trying to achieve but no doubt it was something very naughty and disagreeable. Michael Biehn is his partner, mysteriously gunned down early in the movie, while the rest of an unusually strong cast includes Donald Sutherland, Anne Archer, and Carey Hiroyuki Tagawa. None of the cast really shines here, but as mentioned there are some fine moments of action which could pass the time reasonably. This is definitely only one for big fans of Biehn or Snipes, and it would be difficult to recommend to anyone outside of the action movie fanboy clique. It’s simply your standard action fare, bland but fine if there’s nothing else on.
Have you seen The Art Of War? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!