Movies You Have Not Seen But Should: Rules of Engagement

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Rules of Engagement

It’s time for another installment of “Movies You Have Not Have Seen….But You Should”. This week, we will look at the 2000 drama Rules of Engagement. The film stars Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson.

The two main characters in the film are Col. Terry Childers (played by Jackson) and Lt. Hays Hodges (played by Jones). These two characters are tied together by circumstance with both needing the other to save their lives. For Hodges, this comes during the Vietnam War when then Lt. Childers helps to prevent an ambush on U.S. Marines in Vietnam that spared Hodges’ life. For Col. Childers, this happens years later.

It is 1993 and Col. Childers is leading a unit of Marines are called in to escort the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen to safety. A demonstration outside the embassy began to escalate into a violent protest. The ambassador is escorted to a waiting helicopter. Before Col. Childers and his unit leaves, he goes back to retrieve the American flag. As this is going on, three Marines are killed. Col. Childers believes he saw shots fired from the crowd and orders his Marines to open fire. It resulted in 83 deaths and over 100 wounded.

For fear of backlash of negative public opinion, the U.S. National Security Advisor Bill Sokal (played by Bruce Greenwood) orders a court-martial hearing to take place. Sokal wants to put all the blame on Col. Childers. Childers turns to the one guy he could trust, Hodges, to be his defense attorney. Hodges was now a part of the Judge Advocate General Division and though reluctant to take on the case does defend Childers.

It is an uphill battle for Childers. The evidence is against him and Sokal wants Childers to shoulder all the blame. Sokal will do whatever it takes to make sure that Childers takes the fall. It’s up to Hodges to overcome his deficiencies as a lawyer and the stacked deck that Sokal was trying to place. Can Hodges mount a defense? What is the fate of Childers? You’ll have to watch the film to find out.

The film also stars Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, Anne Archer and Blair Underwood. It was directed by William Friedkin, best known for directing The Exorcist and The French Connection. It opened in theaters on March 31, 2000

Rules of Engagement is available on DVD and Amazon Instant Streaming. If you’re a fan of Samuel L. Jackson or Tommy Lee Jones, this is a film worth checking out. It’s also worth checking out if you’re a fan of military films. It’s a film that may have been off your radar that you may not have seen, but you should.

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