Rules of Engagement (2000) - Drama, Thriller, War

Hohum Score



An attorney defends an officer on trial for ordering his troops to fire on civilians after they stormed a U.S. embassy in a Middle Eastern country.

IMDB: 6.4
Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson
Length: 128 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 53 out of 271 found boring (19.55%)

One-line Reviews (188)

The action sequences are absolutely gripping - and seem very realistic.

His earlier works were novel, marked by a fresh creative spark; this, on the other hand, is a very tired, predictable, formulaic rehashing of familiar elements.

There are a few brief action scenes early in the film to liven things up, but the rest is pretty dull, despite the efforts of the lead actors.

Deeply flawed, but enjoyable nonetheless .


Few movies have addressed so many gripping dilemmas:What is the moral duty of a soldier when he believes his unit to be under hostile fire from enemy combatants hiding within a crowd of Yemeni civilians?

Predictable Tosh .

Entertaining Hollywood filmmaking.

The film is slow-moving and takes time to develop itself.

The portrayal of the US government's response to events comes across as a most tired cliche.

awful propaganda .

The second half is courtroom drama and very intense.

Filled with flaws, but still engaging due to strong performances.

While this movie is very contrived and unrealistic it is a "must see" because it shows that officers must make very hard decisions in combat which are necessary for them to complete their missions.

The film starts strongly with intense combat sequences that shows Director William Friedkin still has cinematic bite.

Let's just say there was little drama, and the outcome was predictable.

It's shocking just how dull the early scenes in Vietnam and Yemen feel.

Great Acting, Enjoyable film .

Jackson pulls off a very nice performance, some of the dialogue of his is very powerful and intense.

Childers and Hodges have a knock down, drag out of a fist fight.

This is a gripping film that will certainly hold your interest throughout - and despite a few clicheed improbabilities, is quite well done.

" I like "Rules" better, despite some flaws (like being contrived).

I can't really review this properly without giving away most of the plot, so I'll simply say that this is completely predictable re-hash of a tired old formula.

The movie was very predictable.

I thought the plot was thin and the characters trite.

This quality composes "Rules of Engagement" in a relatively believable and intense style.

***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** Don't waste your money on this one, not even rental fees.

Jackson, Jones, Pearce, Kingsley - all give great performances, especially Jackson, who is even more intense than usual (check out his eyes in this movie).

Probably no Oscars here, but well worth watching.

It seems there are genuinely a hundred other ways they could have had their civilian massacre plot short of just having the guy order his troops to pointless massacre them.

The conflict scene in the beginning is quite exciting.

Rules of Engagement is pretty Engaging .

It was really scary and it also kept me on the edge of my seat.

All of his movies keep you thinking and on the edge of your seat.

There are three unfortunate matters in the movie: i) the cliché of "higher ups" being utterly evil and willing to do anything to blame others - in this case, it's just so difficult to believe that someone as senior as the National Security Adviser who had absolutely nothing to hide -- would deliberately destroy evidence that would exculpate the colonel.

The recent rerelease of The Exorcist and a repeat viewing of The French Connection contrasted with this film can only lead viewer to a simple conclusion: At one point William Friedkin was a master of his craft, knowing how to tell a compelling story with a unique visual style.

Vile Reprehensible Propaganda .

And then, why do they say that the trial scenes were boring?

this type of involvement is what makes a movie enjoyable to me.

Shakespeare's historical plays were full of factual inaccuracies, but the basic facts of greed, lust for power, betrayal of trust, self-aggrandizement, uncontrolled rage and waging war for stupid reasons remain universal truths of the human condition and dramas about them are both informative and entertaining, reminding us of things we would just as soon forget.

Such a film needs strong performances and well directed scenes to get its point across that sometimes breaking the rules isn't really breaking them, but reacting to unexpected changes.

This film was deeply flawed, yet still enjoyable to watch.

And about that Audio tape that spread-ed in all over Yemen (according to the movie of course) that tells "every Muslim that believes in God and hope for his paradise to kill all Americans" that propaganda about "The Muslims hate America" "They call us the great Satan" makes you wish death for all Muslims and leads to crimes like the one we got last week in Claifornia when a Christian killed a Muslim student out of hate.


This movie is very entertaining and becomes more relevant as the years pass.

Friedkin's well written- courtroom/army drama is not only interesting, but very entertaining.

Certainly a quite realistic situation: getting out diplomatic staff in dangerous areas is not always a peaceful job, particularly when surrounded by hostile population often manipulated by propaganda.

Let me just say it was disappointingly predictable.

It was very slow and didn't have the tense moments of A Few Good Men.

Unbelievable piece of military propaganda .

The Vietnam scene was enjoyable, and the embassy rescue was enjoyable.

The battle sequences manage to be intense and gripping, without disorienting the viewer; seldom is such a balance reached, and this does pretty well at it.

Rules of Engagement could have been a high 9 or a 10 if the ending had been better, so its good points still make it worth watching.

Friedkin does an amazing job generating a feeling of confusion and danger in the initial embassy scenes.

Secondary characters, such as the National Security Advisor, are also drawn with breathtaking shallowness.

The scenes of combat when the marines are ordered to the US embassy in Yemen to safeguard our state department personnel were VERY well done, even to the point of gripping.

I hope there'll be less movies like this in the future, cos this is really a thumb down for William Friedkin and the dullest role I've ever seen for Samuel Jackson.

Despite this small shortcoming, it was an enjoyable movie and I would recommend it.

cliched characterisation, terrible plot, and distasteful propaganda .

a horribly contrived plot .

Worth Watching.

Absolutely, one of the worst movies EVER made.

There were plot holes, dull characters, occasional bad dubs, a poorly done digitally masked missing leg, and an overall sense of artificiality in this film.

Imagine yourself in combat situations that most of us cannot even begin to fathom, then transport yourself to a fascinating world that is not easily reconcilable with our own.

The filmmakers give the characters a lot of smart and juicy dialogue to gnaw on, generating engaging depth in them.

But, dramatics aside, it's a good story and certainly an entertaining one.

Standard dull court room drama .

Jones and Jackson, two of the most engaging and charismatic actors today, are given the impossible task of bringing depth to characters that are two-dimensional cutouts we've seen a thousand times before.

I found it to be a very exciting movie from my particular perspective (US citizen, military family, male over 45).

The predictable thing would have been for the captain being interviewed to admit that he was under such heavy fire that he couldn't tell where the bullets were coming from.

Bad Acting/Boring Characters!

And then you end up thinking that the crowd had it coming, and it becomes another propaganda movie with crazy Arabs, sleazy politicians and spotless marines.

Propaganda .

A suspenseful military thriller worth-seeing.

Vietnam sequence was way too long and not at all up to it's wanna-be-a-Spielberg, Saving-Private-Ryan intro.

I was impressed with the fellow who played Biggs but the voice is very evocative of someone else from long ago and I spent much of the movie trying to place it.

The story line, while engaging and interesting, had an extremely choppy feel to it.

Most important is that, despite the feeling of compromise, the film does raise some fascinating moral issues that too few major films even bother to consider.

A Bit Contrived, But Very Entertaining .

The story is so predictable it's almost unpredictable.

It seemed so true to life that it was compelling to finish the movie.

This portrait of a Marine commander who, in extreme combat situations, is inexorably forced into extreme responses is uninteresting and poorly constructed.

flawed but fascinating film .

A Fine suspenseful military thriller, great performances from Tommy lee Jones and Kingsley .

One of the worst movies I have ever seen.

" The best part about this film was the way Friedkin combined these similarities, added new stuff and took it a step further to make "Rules Of Engagement" engaging, entertaining and involving.

This is not racist or anti-Arab at all; people are so used to the watered-down anti-terrorism Hollywood usually offers, when they see a movie being more incisive in its anti-terrorism stance they immediately cry foul (or, in this case, propaganda).

But its still a worth watching movie.


Very cool and suspenseful!.

Sure, Jackson and Jones are both strong, honest, and intense in their roles.

Don't waste your time with this one, all those who contributed to it, have done better work elsewhere.

While not worthy of academy awards, the actors here make their characters somewhat believable and engaging.

For instance, why do so many people call it predictable?

I reckon Dr Joseph Goebbels and his ministry of propaganda could have learned a lesson or two from this movie(propaganda flick).

It is quite easy to get into the film as the opening 40 minutes are pretty exciting and shocking in equal measure – it forces you to think where you stand on the action taken by Childers in both past and present.

In addition, it allows its two male leads to display honest emotions like regret, confusion and self-doubt.

All good actors, and even more compelling years after its release because of the Benghazi fiasco.

Round about the same time as this film was produced there was a new international court of law set up as to how wars are conducted which led me to believe that RULES OF ENGAGEMENT would point out the ( Im ) practicalities and ( A)moralities and possible hypocrisy of such an international court but all these important ideas are totally ignored in a bland courtroom drama that has gaping holes of logic .

He once made solid, exciting movies with a pulse.

This movie is ultimately a courtroom drama (yet another one), but there is very little suspense in the courtroom, opportunities to introduce some real drama and conflicts are sadly missed, and I left the theater feeling robbed.

Enjoyable Fantasy .

this movie was propaganda movie of course and distasteful propaganda,but this movie wasn't bad.

(warning: plot elements, such as they are, revealed)This movie was contrived to an extreme; basically none of the seminal plot events make the least bit of sense.

It was fascinating to me to see what he did do and how he and others looked back on it.

i walked out after an hour because i was bored stiff and realized i would way rather be spending my time in bed sleeping than sitting through this tedious film.

well, engaging.

Unfortunately this example case bears no resemblance to any alleged US war crimes, like My Lai, and is therefore absolutely pointless.

I would guess they would get bored and stop eventually.

It is amazing and how uninteresting, unexciting, and completely predictable the whole thing was.

Besides, I like longer movies as long as they are entertaining.

It is very entertaining.

Tommy Lee Jones is bland as usual and Jackson is by now a walking cliche.

A waste of time (especially mine) and talent.

A waste of time (POSSIBLE SPOILERS!!!

, even more confusing when he`s being prosecuted by a hotshot prosecueter like Maj Briggs .

The predictable thing would have been to have the video tape magically appear, or for Tommy Lee Jones to come in with such a convincing defense that all charges would be squashed, or to make a dozen other obvious changes.

ii) the cliché of the North Vietnamese having been somehow "honorable" -- and available to testify in courts martial in Washington D.

"Rules of Engagement" isn't a great film, but it is a compelling piece of work with some good performances and characters.

Jackson is intense and powerful, his performance demonstrates his superb acting ability in portraying his characters stubborn and honourable ways.

moronic militaristic propaganda .

The film at least tries to be entertaining and be a crowd-pleaser.

Our mind is kept wondering not what twist or turn the story will next bring, but rather what contrived element the storyteller will next try to foist upon us.

I know boredom is only a matter of opinion, but the trial had me on the edge of my seat a lot of the time.

This could be put down to weak characters - was it really necessary to introduce the boring old-drink-problem cliché to Tommy Lee Jones' character?

This is a well-made gripping movie -- with a great cast.

i mean some spots and parts not all,because propaganda is not useful always i think.

It is commendable that they had the courage to make a film like this, and that they managed to make it entertaining as well.

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT is a terrifically enjoyable fantasy of the way things ought to work in Washington.

The film is also very predictable and by the numbers.

There's the standard "You gotta help me, nobody else believes me," the painfully contrived Fight Between Best Buddies That Threatens To Undermine Their Just Cause, and the inevitable Why-didn't-you-tell-me-this-sooner-and-what-else-are-you-keeping-from-me.

However, in "Rules of Engagement," some of the most compelling plot developments occur in the epilogue.

Instead, we know from the beginning that Childers' version of the events in question is the accurate one, which robs the film of the kind of gripping human drama that can be achieved only through an examination of the ambiguities that make up human motives and actions.

Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones are completely overshadowed by a poor and amazingly boring story.

Actually propaganda movies are not the worst movies.

This is an entertaining movie with a message about political power.

It was a poor attempt at sentimentality with a completely predictable outcome.

To have them as flat words on a screen is pointless (especially since this isn't a true story!

I enjoyed it .

Anyway, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT is an enjoyable fantasy, as far as it goes.

There is an intense racism against Arabs in this movie.

I think this movie could have been so much better if there weren't so many plot holes, inconsistentcies, and confusing actions by the characters (like burning a tape.

This is one powerful and exciting film.

Solid Film, even despite the rather mundane ending .

tommy lee is his usual grumpy hard-ass self, which is always welcome, but here he seems even more jaded then he did in "double jeopardy" plus he dragged bruce greenwood into this movie too.

Being that it's the pre-summer season, RULES is a good and entertaining film that will please those action hungry movie fans until GLADITATOR and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 2 are released.

Gripping Courtroom Drama; Difficult Moral Dilemma; Powerful Movie .

The courtroom scenes are riveting.

This easily goes into the worst movies of the year list (along with Romeo Must Die).

Everything else is either predictable (because it's been done before) or monotonous (because certain scenes last too long).

Don't waste your time.

Although there are some flaws, pay attention to the interesting story line as it outlines the disorder and confusion of conflict.

Anyway, logic is thrown out the window but this is still worth watching just to see Jackson and Jones together.

Is that idea even conceivable without being labeled an anti-semite so how is it that these people, these Hollywood folk who are mainly Jewish are allowed to regurgitate the same anti-Arab propaganda time and time again and get away with this criminal behaviour?

I find them VERY boring, and makes me wanna do something nasty...

This film is anything but engaging.

The superb acting of Sam Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones is what makes this movie exciting.

This is one of the worst movies I've seen in a long time.

This film brought some of these issues to the fore, and though sloppily done in parts, it was an entertaining treatment of the issue.

I found "Rules of Engagement" to be very engaging indeed.

It is tense and suspenseful and I had no idea which way the verdict would fall until we actually heard it.

The plot deftly combines war action, courtroom drama and high-level politics to tell a gripping story that is always interesting and never lags.

Government cover-ups and high drama court scenes also lace this film, and they do so in the most predictable manner.


Waste of time.

This movie was action packed from the start right to the finish, weather it be combat scenes , or court room scenes.

But then goes for an unexpected twist they try to justify a massacre, this is bull****, Situations like this happen very often by other countries (including mine) and the US is the first to demand Justice to be made to the victims.

Jackson), impossible plot holes, the use of every military and courtroom cliche imaginable, an awful script, and a continual need to suspend the viewer's disbelief.

Anyway after some dull trial movie bits, incredible story holes and laughable pieces of speech, Jackson will receive absolution from a retired Vietnamese general (which in the same run solves all those pesky problems of guilt about Vietnam, thanks).

This waiting for the other shoe to drop keeps the film perpetually engaging.

I wont bore you with details and spoil the movie for you.

Very little about the movie plot seems credible or engrossing.

The predictable thing would have been for the Ambassador (or, more likely, his wife) to have qualms of conscience and come in and save the day at the last minute, or else to prove in court that he was lying and the National Security Advisor was blackmailing him.

This drama, directed by William Friedkin, is intense and strongly constructed, proving what accurate conditions the filmmakers accommodate.

exciting from the very start .

Compared with top-notch military courtroom dramas, such as "Breaker Morant," "Courage Under Fire," and "Paths of Glory," (and even lesser ones like "A Few Good Men"), "Rules" qualifies as drab fatigue duty.

A flawed, but entertaining 2 hours....

Entertaining run of the mill action/military/courtroom drama.

Both do a great job (as usual) and for that reason only this film is worth watching.

The film is very powerful and intense.

And, the continuity problems are so confusing that any viewer would lose the plot.

Sure, its probably not going to win awards (although i think Tommy and Sammy should get a nod) but if you want to watch a fun, exciting movie (and contrary to a previous post, there was some humour in the film, although subtle) then go see ROE.

' Hollywood cliché.

The story was more than exciting for the purpose.

Ben Kingsley is compelling as always.

Told with little to no humour and dry,unrelateable characters ,it's a bleak,plodding affair which craters out over 2 hours ungracefully.

Rules of Engagement is a very intreging film that is fascinating and makes you ask a lot of questions of the characters and of the actions they take.

Great action-filled start of the movie, but after that, its just yakyakyak zzzzzz....