The Art of War III: Retribution
The Art of War III: Retribution is a 2009 direct-to-DVD action film, starring rapper Anthony "Treach" Criss as Agent Neil Shaw, taking over the role played by Wesley Snipes in the first two The Art of War films. It was the third film to be released in the series, but the second to be produced.
Agent Neil Shaw is sent to Seoul, South Korea to investigate reports that North Korean rebels are planning to purchase a nuclear weapon and detonate it at peace talks between the two nations. The operation goes badly wrong, however, resulting in all but one of his team being killed, and Shaw himself being framed for murder, leaving Shaw, his assistant Jason and a woman known as Sun Yi having to go on the run and try to alert the United States.
Why It Sucks
- Treach is a simply awful replacement for Wesley Snipes, and shows no talent whatsoever when it comes to acting or action scenes.
- Very bad acting throughout. The only actor who gives an even vaguely decent performance is Warren Derosa, and even he can get a little annoying at times.
- Incredibly bad action sequences, most of which consist of people just stood in the open firing their guns in random directions, with objects in the background occasionally exploding (even when they're not in anyone's line of fire).
- No explanation of why Shaw, who faked his death at the end of the original film, is suddenly working for the United Nations again. Bear in mind that this was filmed with the intention of being the second film in the series, and Shaw wasn't working for the U.N. in the The Art of War II that they ended up making.
- Shaw keeps randomly dropping quotes from Sun Tzu's The Art of War, which is something he didn't do in either of the previous two films, and most of the quotes don't have any relevance to his situation.
- Annoying editing, with scenes that randomly zoom in on a character midway through, then zoom back out again.
- Absurd opening scene, where Shaw somehow manages to assassinate an arms dealer using a bomb in a busy Los Angeles street without anyone noticing. Then he stabs a would-be suicide bomber (who was there as part of an unrelated assassination attempt) to death, also without being noticed, and just walks off and leaves him to die without even bothering to make sure he properly defused his bomb.
- Shaw and Jason keep making stupid mistakes that allow the bad guys to track them.
- The film's ending twist - Sun Yi was the arms dealer Shaw was sent to take out all along, and Kim, the man who Shaw actually thought was the arms dealer, was in fact another U.N. agent - not only makes Shaw and the U.N. look like a bunch of complete morons, it means that most of the "bad guys" that Shaw killed and injured during the film were South Korean law enforcement officers!
- Even by this film's standards, the climatic gunfight between Shaw and Sun Yi stands out for being completely incompetent, with neither being able to hit each other despite being stood behind couches only a few feet apart. More than one critic has called this the single worst gunfight in cinema history.
- After Sun Yi has been dealt with, instead of either suspending Shaw for completely screwing up his operation or handing him over to the South Korean police to answer for his various crimes, the U.N. Secretary-General gives a big speech about how he saved her life. Even though her life was only ever in danger in the first place because of Shaw's incompetence.
- The film actually explains the disappearance of Shaw's girlfriend from the first film, which The Art of War II didn't bother doing.
- The terrible action scenes and Treach's bad acting can get unintentionally hilarious.
- After Wesley Snipes contacted the producers about making a sequel to The Art of War (not knowing this one had already been filmed), this film was shelved with the intention of re-editing it into a stand-alone film named Intervention. When The Art of War II sold well on DVD, however, they instead changed this film's title to The Art of War III and released it.