172 user 114 critic

The Art of War (2000)

0:32 | Trailer
UN's secretary general uses covert operations to help diplomacy along. Shaw's called back 6 months after one such operation. He witnesses the murder of Chinese UN ambassador at UN, NYC, chases the assassin and ends up a suspect.


Christian Duguay


Wayne Beach (story), Wayne Beach (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Wesley Snipes ... Neil Shaw
Anne Archer ... Eleanor Hooks
Maury Chaykin ... Frank Capella
Marie Matiko ... Julia Fang
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa ... David Chan
Michael Biehn ... Robert Bly
Donald Sutherland ... Douglas Thomas
Liliana Komorowska ... Jenna Novak
James Hong ... Ambassador Wu
Paul Hopkins ... Ray, FBI Agent
Glen Chin ... Ochai
Ron Yuan ... Ming
Bonnie Mak Bonnie Mak ... Anna Li
Uni Park ... Tina Chan
Erin Selby Erin Selby ... Hong Kong Reporter
Learn more

More Like This 

Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  

Agent Neil Shaw is called out of retirement and finds himself in the midst of a plot to assassinate several leading Senators with himself set-up to take the rap for a recent killing.

Director: Josef Rusnak
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Lochlyn Munro, Athena Karkanis
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A young woman is murdered in the White House. Homicide detective Regis/W.Snipes investigates while Secret Service works against him. He's assigned agent Chance/D.Lane. She eventually cooperates after a man's framed.

Director: Dwight H. Little
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Diane Lane, Daniel Benzali
Money Train (1995)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A vengeful New York City transit cop decides to steal a trainload of subway fares. His foster brother, a fellow cop, tries to protect him.

Director: Joseph Ruben
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Lopez
Drop Zone (1994)
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A tough cop teams up with a professional skydiver to capture a renegade computer hacker on the run from the law.

Director: John Badham
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Gary Busey, Yancy Butler
Passenger 57 (1992)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

An airline security expert must take action when he finds himself trapped on a passenger jet when terrorists seize control of it.

Director: Kevin Hooks
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Bruce Payne, Tom Sizemore
Rising Sun (1993)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

When an escort girl is found dead in the offices of a Japanese company in Los Angeles, detectives Web Smith and John Connor act as liaison between the company's executives and the investigating cop Tom Graham.

Director: Philip Kaufman
Stars: Sean Connery, Wesley Snipes, Harvey Keitel
Unstoppable (2004)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Dean has PTSD after a wet-job gone bad in Bosnia. Waiting for his police girlfriend at a diner, some bad guys inject him with a hallucinogen. It sends him back to traumatic experiences in Bosnia and he reacts violently.

Director: David Carson
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Jacqueline Obradors, Stuart Wilson
Boiling Point I (1993)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

A pair of sociopath killers take on the police and the mob in order to make one last big score.

Director: James B. Harris
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Dennis Hopper, Lolita Davidovich
The Contractor (Video 2007)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Ex-C.I.A. Agent James Dial (Wesley Snipes) is asked to take out terrorist Ali Mahmud Jahar (Nikolai Sotirov), only to realize he's been set up by his former employer, Jeremy Collins (Ralph Brown).

Director: Josef Rusnak
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Eliza Bennett, Lena Headey
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Liberty, the wife of a gun manufacturer, is held hostage at a hot dog stand by a sniper seeking revenge.

Director: Kari Skogland
Stars: Tanya Allen, Hart Bochner, Fulvio Cecere
Game of Death (2011)
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

Secret Ops agent Marcus is sent to Detroit to take out an arms dealer and the head of the hedge fund that is financing him. His CIA backup has other plans and turns on him and it's a fight to survive in a hospital.

Director: Giorgio Serafini
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Aunjanue Ellis, Zoë Bell
The Detonator (Video 2006)
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

Sonni Griffith, a top US Secret Agent must protect a witness as he crosses Europe.

Director: Po-Chih Leong
Stars: Wesley Snipes, William Hope, Tim Dutton


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 Vietnamese refugees turns up on the docks and China's ambassador is gunned down at a dinner celebrating a new trade agreement with China and the US, Shaw is framed for the murder and must evade the FBI and Triad gangsters to find out what is really going on. Written by Jeff Cross <blackjac_1998@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Who is your foe? See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, some sexuality, language and brief drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Universal Pictures briefly optioned the screenplay and considered Jet Li to star. At that point, action director Dwight H. Little was also being eyed to helm. See more »


In the movie, some people speak Mandarin Chinese and some people speak Cantonese Chinese, sometimes in the same conversation. Also, Julia Fang, who is only seen speaking Cantonese, translates a poorly spoken Mandarin recording to Shaw. Also, Fang pronounces Mrs. Li's name wrong, she pronounced it "Lie" when it is pronounced "Lee". The interpreter for the conference translates the English into Cantonese, which would never be done. Most Cantonese speaking people can speak Mandarin, but almost no Mandarin speaking people can speak Cantonese. See more »


[first lines]
Jenna Novak: What is he waiting for?
[putting on headset]
Jenna Novak: What are you waiting for?
Neil Shaw: [over radio] Novak, I'm experiencing the moment.
Bly: He's going to experience a Chinese labor camp in a moment if he doesn't stick to schedule.
See more »

Alternate Versions

German cinema version was edited for violence to secure a "Not under 16" rating. See more »


References Lethal Weapon (1987) See more »


La fleur que tu m'avais jetee
Written by Georges Bizet
Performed by Nikola Nikolov
See more »

User Reviews

Not a great plot but some good action if you're in the mood for that alone
18 April 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Neil Shaw is an operative for the United Nations. In particular he is a covert agent for a unit that doesn't exist that officially has done nothing but in reality gathers information and caries out missions to help with the brokering of peace. When a freight container of dead refugees is found in America and the Chinese ambassador is assassinated, Shaw is framed and he is forced onto the run. As Shaw attempts to clear his name, his bosses are contacted with false exposure for diplomatic crimes unless they stop the new trade agreement between the US and China.

Despite the fact that this film didn't do well enough to warrant a cinema release in the UK and that professional reviews were less than complimentary about it, I was in the mood for an action thriller and decided to give it a go. The film marks out it's attachments with reality in the first 10 minutes as it opens with a scene of espionage that would fit as well in a James Bond movie. Once you have realised that this film is aiming for that sort of slick action-movie reality, it is easier to sit back and enjoy it. Of course, as with the genre, the plot is not up to much even if it aims for a solid thriller storyline of double crosses and action. Sadly it creates too many holes for itself and the exaggerated action takes away from the reality that it's plot is trying to exist within.

Despite this, the action scenes make it worth watching. Just like the slick opening mission, the rest of the film continues with plenty of consistently enjoyable scenes that will please you if you are in the mood for that type of thing. Duguay directs the whole film with the slick and polished feel that he brought to the action scenes - even though they are not original or realistic they are still quite exciting considering the plot fails to really engage. Moments of John Woo-style standoffs are good as well as lots of running and jumping! I watched this film on a Friday night and can only suggest that that time of the week with some friends and some beers must be the best time to watch this.

As well as the action and direction, another reason this film worked for me was the presence of Wesley Snipes. Over the past decade he has successfully turned himself into a good action star and he shows his qualities here. As with Blade, he is best when he is able to shake off the shackles of `normal' characters and play things a bit more superhero/Bond as is the case here. He has a good charisma here that kept me with him as well as showing a nice sense of humour at points as well. Matiko is quite cute but her character is less clear in terms of how she fits in at each stage. She doesn't give that good a performance but the film doesn't ask very much of her - the biggest problem I had with her was that her character's name (Miss Fang) made it sound like everyone was calling her `Miss Thang' in a Ricki Lake style! Archer is not very good and isn't used by the film well at all despite the key role of her character. Sutherland looks about as rough as he could do - couldn't he even have brushed his hair? He makes a very unlikely Secretary General! Tagawa is a well known face and plays his character with his usual style, while Michael Biehn is quite good and enjoyable in his action scene.

Overall, this film has some topical interest as we have just found out recently that the Secretary General was spied on by the US, but that doesn't stop the plot being full of jumps in plot logic and having elements that just don't really fit. However despite this the action is slick, from the Bond school of excitement and is helped by stylish direction from Duguay. Add to this a good centre pin in Snipes' fun performance and you have a film that is enjoyable and rather exciting if you are in the mood for a fun thriller.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 172 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »


Official Sites:

Warner Bros.


USA | Canada



Release Date:

25 August 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Art of War See more »

Filming Locations:

Hong Kong, China See more »


Box Office


$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,410,993, 27 August 2000

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital EX



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed