Watch Rules of Engagement
- 2 hr 8 min
Rules of Engagement is a 2000 drama film directed by William Friedkin, starring Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, and Guy Pearce. The movie is set in present-day Washington, D.C., where the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, Leary (Jackson), and his diplomatic staff are under siege by a group of Yemeni citizens after a failed U.S. mission. The U.S. Marine Corps is sent in to evacuate the Ambassador and his staff, but a tragic incident leads to a court-martial for the Marine Corps' officer in charge, Hayes Hodges (Jones). The film follows the events leading up to the court-martial, along with the proceedings themselves.
The film begins with a flashback to Hodges' service in Vietnam, where he saves the life of his friend and comrade Terry Childers (Jackson). Throughout the movie, both characters' experiences in Vietnam are constantly alluded to, each character citing the other's valor and decisiveness in combat. When Childers is chosen to lead a mission to rescue Ambassador Leary and his staff, Hodges immediately volunteers to accompany him. Once on the ground in Yemen, the situation quickly spirals out of control, and a group of Yemeni citizens gather outside the U.S. embassy, angered by the U.S.'s involvement in their country's politics. Despite Leary's attempts to negotiate a peaceful solution, the angry mob begins to breach the embassy's gate, and the Marines are forced to fire on the crowd in self-defense.
After the dust settles and the Embassy staff is evacuated, a video surfaces purporting to show that the Marines fired on unarmed civilians without provocation. Childers is charged with murder, and Hodges is called in to testify as to what really happened on the ground in Yemen. The movie then shifts to the courtroom, where Hodges is tasked with defending Childers against the charges, while a tough prosecutor (Pearce) seeks to prove that Childers acted recklessly and without regard for human life.
The courtroom scenes are tense and gripping, with both Jones and Jackson delivering outstanding performances. The two characters' friendship and loyalty to each other are often tested, as new evidence and twists are introduced into the case. As the proceedings continue, the film delves deeper into the complex issues that arise when the military is sent into foreign countries to act as peacekeepers or protectors. The role of the U.S. in shaping other countries' foreign policies is questioned, as is the way that American soldiers are perceived by the civilians they interact with while on foreign soil.
Despite the heavy themes, Rules of Engagement is also a visually stunning movie, with powerful set pieces and action scenes that will satisfy any military movie aficionado. In particular, the climactic scenes in Yemen are expertly handled, with the audience feeling the tension and danger of the situation as it unfolds. The film is also notable for its sound design, incorporating the sounds of the Middle East into the film's score and soundtrack to great effect.
Overall, Rules of Engagement is a gripping and thoughtful look at the intersection of politics, military action, and justice. With its powerhouse cast and uncompromising portrayal of the military justice system, the film is sure to leave a lasting impression on any viewer.
Rules of Engagement is a 2000 war movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 8 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.4 and a MetaScore of 45.