Travers of Rolling Stone
Hey Whore, how's
the whoring? According to this week's Quote Whore:
Kings of Comedy
tornado of laughs!"
Saving Grace is "A Comic High!"
The Replacements: "You've never seen a halftime
Cecil B. Demented is "Waters the way we like
him--spiked with laughs and served with a twist."
Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.
The Art of War
"What a fucking mess!"
Seeing the "The Art of War" is like pulling out
of the garage and backing over your grandmother. Before it happens
you hear a tiny voice scream "No!" but you aren't paying
attention you're singing along with "Hot for Teacher"
on the radio. Then, there's all this wailing and howling, all
this commotion, and you have no idea what it all means.
When you get out of the car or theater, you see the mistake,
you feel like shit and you spend days wondering how the fuck
you could have avoided it. Worst of all, it kills your grandmother.
"The Art of War" has nothing to do with art, it
has to do with egos that have blocked the path between their
owners and reality. This movie, the cinematic equivalent of burning
diarrhea dripping down your thigh, is so convinced with its genius
that it never bothers being entertaining, making sense, or being
remotely original. What a fucking mess.
Wesley Snipes is Shaw, a U.N. top-secret agent who uses questionable
tactics to force countries to do what the U.N. wants. I understood
that much, but then it all got fuzzy. Apparently, a huge Chinese
trade bill is about to be signed, but certain Chinese citizens
don't want it. So, Snipes moves in to force the situation and
then loses his U.N. support. From there, I can't really tell
you what the fuck was going on. Lots of crappy martial arts,
gun fights, predictable twists where the people who secretly
employ Snipes actually oppose him (and I think well, if they
hadn't hired him in the first place I could have gone fishing
this afternoon). There are lots of people yammering about Chinese
trade relations like they just got done reading "The Economist"
and are feeling pretty fucking smart. Oh, and I don't want to
forget all the racist sentiments expressed about Chinese people.
Oh, Chinese trade relations. Now that's about as interesting
as talking to the guy at the company picnic who keeps sticking
his hand in the punch bowl. Maybe there is a kernel of a junior
college paper about Chinese-American trade relations at the core
of this story, but as a movie, it's pure bullshit, pure as driven
snow splattering your face. Good fucking God in a gravy boat,
this movie makes no sense, it doesn't even try.
A big part of the problem is how "Art of War" pretends
to be about explosive political issues. Some Hollywood grassfucker
with a corncob up his ass read this script and, having even less
interest in politics than making good movies, thought it was
smart because he didn't understand it. What we, the unsuspecting
public, are left with is a movie that wraps a bullshit plot around
a very superficial and racist interpretation of international
Watch five minutes, see Snipes blackmail a Korean Army general
by showing footage of him getting a hummer, which he is already
getting in public, then escape by jumping off the building with
a parachute, and you'll know a few things. One, there is nothing
original, nothing plausible and you can write the rest of the
story. The only thing you can't do is imagine how fucking stiff
the dead dialog is, or how impressed the movie is with itself.
It looks like director Christian Duguay has never seen a lame
action sequence he didn't want to steal. There are plenty of
repeats in here, including the parachute jump from the original
and bad "Mission: Impossible" or the bullet traces
you can see from "The Matrix." Of course, it's one
of those movies where it's always raining and moody. Maybe it
isn't raining. Maybe it's God pissing on these assholes.
The martial arts look like amateur hour, the chases are so
jittery that they're impossible to follow, and the high-tech
gizmos look like the bargain bin at Radio Shack. The whole flick
gives off the vibe of a cheap-ass movie that wants to be expensive
but ends up looking like a whore with too much makeup covering
her tracks. It's got a cheap cast, cheap effects and a basement-clearance-rack
Fuck it, I'm so fucking pissed.
Mr. Duguay has the camera moving all the time. He swings it
to and fro and can't settle for a minute. He made me want to
fucking puke. It's all grainy close-ups of Snipes' ugly mug,
or helicopter shots circling a scene that would be better served
by a traditional and competent director. He even mixes styles
like he's making a hobo stew from better movies.
The script is worse than giving your grandmother a rimjob
(provided you didn't already run her over). I've already talked
about how incoherent and pretentious it is, but the dialog sinks
this fucker into the abyss. A cop in the movie says "I'm
getting too old for this shit," as though this hasn't been
said about 100 times already.
The characters are all assholes who speak in clichés,
as though they are strangers talking about weather while waiting
in line at Starbucks. Occasionally, however, the pack of rabid
soul-sucking screenwriters (Kevin Bernhardt, Wayne Beach and
Simon Davis Barry) decides to make someone blurt out a plot point.
Snipes may say "Nice day, huh?" to which his vague
love interest Marie Matiko will respond "You want me to
go in there and get the secret files? Are you crazy?"
Snipes is bad, very bad. I don't know if he recognizes the
movie around him sucks and so he sleepwalks through it, or if
he is really that catatonic. Marie Matiko is whiny, but not pretty
enough or interesting enough to carry the spunky waif role, and
that's fine since the role is terrible. Donald Sutherland, Anne
Archer and Michael Biehn are usually only heard from when their
publicists have to issue a press release denying their deaths,
but they are here, adding warm bodies to spout the inane words.
The final insult of this film is how it makes broad generalizations
about the United Nations and the Chinese and treats them like
gospel truth. There is a place for political statements in movies,
but in good movies, made by competent people with something to
say. Assholes spouting right wing dogma and then making up shit
to back it up should not be humored, or at least not taken so
One fucking finger up the ass of Hollywood for "The
Art of War." I'm pissed, but I would be even more pissed
if I had paid. Instead I snuck in after paying to see "Bring
It On." I won't review that movie for reasons I will not
explain, but "Bring it On" is way fucking better than
the trailer made it look, or than I expected. Go see that, then
throw a stinkbomb into the theater showing "Art of War"
on your way out.