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Rules of Engagement (2000)



Average Rating: 5/10
Reviews Counted: 94
Fresh: 34 | Rotten: 60

The script is unconvincing and the courtroom action is unegaging.


Average Rating: 5/10
Critic Reviews: 24
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 15

The script is unconvincing and the courtroom action is unegaging.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 49,092

My Rating

Movie Info

In this drama, two U.S. Marines who stood side by side on the field of battle are reunited in a court of law. Attorney Hayes Hodges (Tommy Lee Jones) once aspired to a career as an officer, but a serious injury in Vietnam put an end to his military future, leaving him bitter and resentful. Col. Terry L. Childers (Samuel L. Jackson) fought alongside Hodges and once saved his life; when Childers is threatened with a court martial for ordering his troops to fire on civilians during a raid on an


Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense

Stephen Gaghan

Oct 10, 2000

Paramount Home Video - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (114) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (34) | Rotten (60) | DVD (22)

At the end we have a film that attacks its central issue from all sides and has a collision in the middle.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Rules of Engagement never engages us.

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Written with such murderous gravity, certainty and gloomy solemnity ... that it tends to kill our interest.

January 1, 2000
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What distinguishes Rules is its use of xenophobia to bolster its legal arguments, and presumably tap audience's deep-seated prejudices.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At its best, Rules Of Engagement is merely bad.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At their best, [Jackson and Jones] are merely two of the most cunning, commanding performers in all of movies.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Something is missing

May 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

If the makers hadn't stuck so closely to the rules, this film would have been far more engaging.

January 4, 2010 Full Review Source:

Not exactly a triumphant return to form for maverick director William Friedkin, but it's not bad, either.

June 23, 2003 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Whereas a TV version of the same material might flounder, this slick, big-budget film works because there is legitimate doubt as to both the level of guilt of the accused and the outcome of the trial.

November 13, 2002 Full Review Source:

A thriller set in Yemen that turns into an ethical examination of the use of force by the military.

August 21, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

It has the gumption to open a huge ethical can of worms without the first idea what to do with them.

October 24, 2001 Full Review Source: Flipside Movie Emporium
Flipside Movie Emporium

Hey, dazzle us with a movie, don't shove it down our throats.

April 9, 2001 Full Review
Playboy Online

A silly courtroom thriller that comes dangerously close to remaking [Joel] Schumacher's A Time to Kill.

March 19, 2001 Full Review Source: Matinee Magazine
Matinee Magazine

A disservice to those soldiers it would celebrate.

January 1, 2000
Winnipeg Sun

The courtroom scenes are annoying, frustrating and infuriating.

January 1, 2000
Jam! Movies

Jones and Jackson are way too good for this material.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Oregonian

Will engross you while you're there but will fall apart in your mind as you begin to think about it later.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews
Internet Reviews

A dud that tries to hide a simplistic plot and muddled message with frenzied flag-waving and overheated performances.

January 1, 2000

Cruelly drab.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Examiner

Rules of Engagement isn't a bad film, but it's one that is often too dramatically and intellectually inert to warrant a full recommendation.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Rules of Engagement ends with one of those tacked-on postscripts that only underlines the weakness of the storyline.

January 1, 2000
Ottawa Citizen

It's a deftly executed crowd-pleaser, but it's dishonest to the core.

January 1, 2000
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Rules of Engagement

A mostly enjoyable distraction big on capturing the style of the marines but one that's a little short on plot; in a post-CSI world, I feel like they could have just done the 20-minute forensics and told us where the fire was coming from, and not needed half a movie of trial coverage to predictably get to the bottom of it. An interesting relic, though, as it is one of the few films that raise the spectre of terrorism originating from the Middle East before 9/11. And this was on TBS (sorry, I guess it's Peachtree now) like two days before the U.S. Embassy in Yemen was bombed last week... that's creepy, right?

Anyway, Tommy Lee Jones is quite good (as always), Sam Jackson held his own, and while I wouldn't go out of my way to see it, it was at least engaging (haha) enough to watch front to back, no matter how many f-bombs were replaced with "forget".
September 22, 2008

Super Reviewer

A decent war drama war as a mission is investigated in court to find out what happened.
September 6, 2008

Super Reviewer

An intensely gripping, nail-biting and exhilerating military thriller. Compelling, memerising and very exciting. A mixture of strong court room drama and some explosive action. Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson give electrifying performances. These two heavyweights deliver the greatness, showing us why they are indeed superstars. Abslolutely unforgettable and powerful. A superb and tremendous film. Director, William Friedkin's finest film. A classic. It grabs you and dosent let go for a second.
April 25, 2008

Super Reviewer

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones are old war pals who took seperate paths after a cataclysmic ambush in Vietnam. Jackson went on to a prestigous career in combat but Jones was restricted to desk jobs the rest of his tenure. It appears Arabs are at their old tricks again, being that without Nazis or Communists they are Hollywood's favorite misrepresented bad guys. Jackson gets dispatched to protect a US embassy besieged by protests. During the meelee of confusion Jackson orders fire on the crowds outside. Now he has to face the ramifications which include murder charges and a tangled web of conspriacy.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Jackson gives an electric performance as the Marine Captain full of sound and fury. Jones and Jackson exhibit great chemistry together under William Friedkin's deft hand. Friedkin, known for classics like 'The Fench Connection' and 'The Exorcist', whose last pic was the Caruso stinker 'Jade', has crafted exciting sequences of action and suspense. The problem is they all happen early and the film undwinds and unspools as it continues.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Bruce Greenwood seems to be making a career out of beguiling Jones. In last fall's 'Double Jeopardy' he was a slimy not-so-dead hubby, and in 'Rules' he's a slimy National Security advisor. These two look like they'll be the Ben and Matt of the over fourty crowd.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]'Rules of Engagement' is a coutroom action/drama that plays closely to the rules established but coasts on terrfic performances from its leads and some dynamite action sequences. But eventually the weight of the plot drags 'Rules' from the potential it flashed.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate's Grade: B- [/color][/font]
February 23, 2006
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

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