Cinema: Rules Of Engagement

Directed by William Friedkin

Under sniper fire during an embassy demonstration in Yemen, a Marine colonel (Samuel L. Jackson) orders his men to shoot at the demonstrators; 83 Yemenis are killed. At the colonel's court martial, his attorney (Tommy Lee Jones) cries bureaucratic cover-up--which the script, from a story by former Navy Secretary James Webb, sees as more damning than the massacre of civilians. The issues demand nuance, not the rhetorical bombast offered in this muddle. It has something to offend every political sensibility but little to offer in thoughtful drama.

--By Richard Corliss


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