Rules of Engagement (2000)



Critic Consensus: The script is unconvincing and the courtroom action is unegaging.

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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 American embassy, Hodges is the only lawyer that he can trust, and the case gives Hodges a chance for revenge against the military system that he feels has wronged him. Rules of Engagement also features Kim Delaney, Ben Kingsley, Blair Underwood, and Anne Archer. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
R (for scenes of war violence, and for language)
Action & Adventure , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:

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Tommy Lee Jones
as Col. Hayes 'Hodge' Hodges
Samuel L. Jackson
as Col. Terry L. Childers
Ben Kingsley
as Ambassador Mourain
Blair Underwood
as Capt. Lee
Anne Archer
as Mrs. Mourain
Guy Pearce
as Maj. Mark Biggs
Mark Feuerstein
as Tom Chandler
Philip Baker Hall
as Gen. H. Lawrence Hodges
Bruce Greenwood
as National Security Advisor Bill Sokal
Nicky Katt
as Hayes Hodges III
Jihane Kortobi
as Little Girl
Ryan Hurst
as Corporal Hustings
Richard McGonagle
as Judge Col. E. Warner
Hayden Tank
as Justin Mourain
Chris Ufland
as Ambassador Aide
Jody Wood
as Juror #6
Dale Dye
as Gen. Perry
as Dr. Ahmar
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Critic Reviews for Rules of Engagement

All Critics (96) | Top Critics (24)

This movie is a blunt object -- blunt, but not particularly effective.

December 31, 1999
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

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

December 31, 1999
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

A broad and obvious approach to ambiguous material that's virtually all plot mechanics with little nuance or characterization.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Top Critic

Nothing in this movie makes much sense.

December 31, 1999
Mr. Showbiz
Top Critic

A run-of-the-mill legal thriller that hopes to be a little more.

December 31, 1999
Top Critic

At its best, Rules Of Engagement is merely bad.

December 31, 1999
Top Critic

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".

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

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

Dean King
Dean King

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.

Al S
Al S

Super Reviewer

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