Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Rules of Engagement

Posted on

Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, ...
Sam Emerson

Rules of Engagement

Current Status:
In Season
128 minutes
Samuel L. Jackson, Tommy Lee Jones, Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce
William Friedkin
Paramount Pictures
Stephen Gaghan
Drama, War

We gave it a B

By now, the whole military courtroom drama thing has been so overmined that it’s got its own section at Blockbuster. So it’s a good thing that Friedkin’s ”Rules of Engagement” has a couple of stealth weapons. Namely, Jones and Jackson — a pair of crackling live wires so intense that they could turn a judge’s chambers into a human cockfighting arena. Based on a story by former Secretary of the Navy James Webb, ”Rules” cuts between the battlefield past (when Jackson saved Jones’ life) and the courtroom present (when only lawyer Jones can defend Jackson after a rescue mission goes horribly awry).

Jackson says that he was originally offered the part three years ago when costars such as Sylvester Stallone and Richard Gere were run up the flagpole. But it wasn’t until Jones signed on that Jackson bit. ”He just has that right look of a man who’s lived,” says Jackson, who compares the $60 million flick to a cross between ”A Few Good Men” and Stanley Kubrick’s ”Paths of Glory.”

Adds producer Richard Zanuck of his two stars, ”They just look like a couple of Marines, don’t they? I mean talk about a pair of hard-assed guys.” BUZZ FACTOR: 7

Go to the official website.