I’m not completely sure about the history of this movie which I think was first called ‘Art of War II’ and then renamed ‘Intervention’ and now settled on ‘Art of War III’ but I think this was actually shot before the Wesley Snipes vehicle ‘Art of War II’ but with Wes’ apparent money issues he decided to make his own damn sequel which caused this movie to be pushed back. This worked for Sony I suppose because this meant they already had a ready made straight to DVD sequel in the can to a straight to DVD sequel. Recognize that ‘Art of War II’ is easily the worst movie that Wesley Snipes has ever made. By far. Believe me, you would want to watch the Michael Jackson ‘Bad’ video over and over and over again featuring one Wesley Snipes than watch ‘Art of War II’ once. It is because that ‘Art of War II’ is sooooo shitty that this ‘sequel’, despite the fact it looks like it cost about a hundred dollars to produce, despite the fact that Anthony ‘Treach’ Criss is absolutely no Wesley Snipes and despite the fact that this movie is essentially a three-man-play with one player being and ex-rapper, another player being an ex-nude model and the third player being some obscure dude that this movie seemed almost good when compared to ‘Art of War II’. It’s not good, not even a little bit, but it seemed good.
Sun Tzu says it is wise to keep on eye on the suspicious black dude bumping into you in a crowded office building.
If you haven’t read ‘The Art of War’ and if you choose to watch this movie then you probably won’t have to read it since Shaw (Treach) quotes him via narration about every three minutes or so. We see how awesome Shaw is early on in this movie as he deftly disarms a would be terrorist and then like a ninja, in broad daylight, where everybody can see but no one does, eliminates the cat this terrorist was trying to blow up by tossing a bomb into this dude car in the middle of crowded street. He then walks up and stabs the would be terrorist in plain sight of a bunch people who didn’t see that
either. Since nobody saw my man I must assume that the CIA has finally perfected the personal cloaking device. Now despite the fact that Shaw has saved countless lives his boss still gives him the whole ‘play by the rules speech’ followed by dispatching our hero and his crew to South Korea where an alleged nuclear bomb transfer was supposed to take place. Shaw’s orders are fairly specific: Observe and report. As if.
Sun Tzu says when it goes all to hell kill everybody. Every last one of them. Except the hot Asian chick. Because that would be silly.
So sure enough this op in Seoul goes straight to hell, mainly because these CIA ‘ghosts’ are the worst CIA agents in the history of the world who do stuff like hanging off electrical poles in plain sight which leads to a big shoot out and Shaw rescuing this Asian chick Sun Yi (Sung Hi Lee) for no other reason than she will be needed to dress up like a prostitute later on in the movie. This leads to a fascinating exchange featuring a clever CIA technique where Shaw plays good cop / bad cop all by himself in order to extract information from the woman. Assisting Shaw in his efforts is greenhorn spook Jason (Warren Derosa) who I’m guessing is comic relief in this flick.
Sun Tzu advises; ‘just because one has started watching a movie doesn’t mean one has to finish it. Save ones self’.
It’s not long before ‘Art of War III’ devolves into pure nonsense abandoning any and all hope or pretense of making any kind of logical sense. The plot, as it was, veers completely out of control, however in between the nonsense we are treated to an above the neck love scene from Treach and Sung Hi Lee… mind you the woman isn’t shy so why we couldn’t inject some unnecessary gratuitous nudity into a completely unnecessary love scene is beyond me. This all leads to a shoot out at the United Nations consulate which one would think in a post 9-11 world would have slightly better security than what you usually find in an inner-city high school.
Despite the fact that there is almost nothing to recommend about this movie… say like the extremely suspect acting, the poorly staged fight scenes, the fact that characters stand around shooting at each other with automatic machine guns while hitting nothing, a plotline that seems to be making itself up as it goes along and a presentation of American Intelligence that, if were accurate, we’d all be speaking Russian right about now. Despite all of that, and I’ve said this before, if a movie can remain consistent in its awfulness and avoid raising your expectations then making it to the finish line of said movie, then it all might not be too terribly painful. I’ve seen a couple of these low budget action movies from director Gerry Lively, and while the man might not exactly be Martin Scorsese he does keep this sub par junk moving along.
Now if you haven’t seen ‘Art of War II’, a movie that had way more money to work with which equated to better actors, bigger explosions and of course the presence of a disinterested Wesley Snipes, then forget anything positive I may have said about ‘Art of War III’ because all by itself it is absolutely awful. But in comparison to that movie, yeah… this movie is oddly watchable. You would probably be best served to avoid both of them, but if you are to appreciate ‘Art of War III", you must watch ‘Art of War II’ first. Proceed at your own risk.