Waco: The Rules of Engagement (1997) - Rotten Tomatoes

Waco: The Rules of Engagement (1997)




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Director William Gazecki's documentary on 1994's 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, TX, which ended with the destruction of the compound by fire and the death of 70 members inside, is a strong and compelling piece of journalism that raises reasonable and troubling questions about how the FBI and the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) handled the matter. The film gives a brief history of the Branch Davidian sect and biographical data on David Koresh, their leader at the time of the debacle, before laying the groundwork of the events that led up to the Waco standoff and the FBI's eventual attack on their compound. While the film presents both sides of the issue, Gazecki makes clear that the FBI's own evidence can be used against them as often as for them, and asks why so much key evidence that could have determined what exactly happened (for example, whether the shots that killed many of the Davidians were fired from within the building or from outside) was either destroyed or simply lost. Neither an attack on Koresh and his followers as armed lunatics nor a conspiracy theorist's mass of wild conjecture, Waco: The Rules of Engagement carefully and meticulously presents facts that escaped most mainstream reports on the Branch Davidians, making the case that the FBI's conduct was at best ill-considered and at worst a reckless violation of the rights and safety of the people involved.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Michael McNulty, William Gazecki, Dan Gifford
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 9, 2003
Artefact Films

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Critic Reviews for Waco: The Rules of Engagement

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (8)

Full Review… | April 25, 2003
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | September 19, 1997
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | November 6, 2002
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Waco: The Rules of Engagement

The raw footage is phenomenal. One of the most detailed chronicles of a police raid ever captured. Questioned who the most dangerous presence was on that fateful day - the cult leaders or the FBI.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

David Koresh was no doubt a crazy individual who most likely did engage in sex with underage girls, however it is clear that the FBI and the ATF grossly overstepped their bounds and covered-up a massive cluster-fuck that led to the deaths of nearly all the Branch Davidians (many of them innocent children). The film will make you so angry at the federal government and the media.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

A horrific look at the Feds' wanton destruction and violation of its own citizen's rights. Intolerance, revenge, deceit, military zealotry and poor management all factor into the events that occurred on those days in 1993. The Davidians believed the apocalypse was inevitable, the ATF; in their shortsighted recklessness, gave them just that.
Watch in amazement as the bureaucratic food chain cover their collective asses with a never-ending series of lies and cover-ups. Keep on the lookout for a cameo appearance by our VP Mr. Biden who denies government responsibility. Hooray!
What makes this truly powerful as a documentary, however, is in the fact that there are good people out there. People who are not sheep, people who have a conscience and operate on a plane beyond the chain of command. Good folks who can stand up and object, not just fall over like dominos with a powder keg waiting at the end.

Also, to the other reviewers here that keep mentioning mass suicide: you're confusing this with the Jonestown massacre. The Branch Davidians were not a suicide cult. It was deaths of innocents triggered by ATF actions.

Brett Warren

Super Reviewer

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