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The Art of War II:Betrayal

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

When Agent Neil Shaw (Wesley Snipes) comes out of hiding to avenge his former mentor's murder, he winds up on the trail of betrayal and lethal corruption. Under the charge of his friend and Senatorial candidate, his mission is to set things straight. But when more people turn up dead, Shaw realizes that he's been framed. Now he's letting the fists fly where they may to get to the bottom of an assassination conspiracy that everyone thinks he's behind. It's time to turn up the political heat and enjoy the action of the martial arts master!


Wesley Snipes makes a far more persuasive action hero than his straight-to-video compatriot Steven Seagal; lean and fluid, Snipes makes you believe he could kick some butt with his martial arts moves. Unfortunately, that's about the only good thing to be said about The Art of War II: Betrayal, in which retired covert agent Neil Shaw (Snipes) gets drawn into an incomprehensible plot involving super-duper bullets, a blackmailed movie star, bribes to congresspeople, and the hitherto unknown daughter of a cross-dressing sensei from Shaw's youth. The movie has many allusions to characters from Shaw's past, none of whom appeared in The Art of War; the only connection between the two films seems to be the main character's name. Even the action scenes are poorly lit and clumsily edited (oddly enough, the only extra on the DVD is a series of "alternate" versions of the fights--most of which are easier to follow and hence more exciting than the versions they used in the movie itself). The movie is named after the tactical guidebook of the ancient Chinese warrior-scholar Sun Tzu; you might think the point would be that the hero makes deft use of Sun Tzu's advice. You would be wrong. What happened to Wesley Snipes? Once or twice he gives a brief flash of the charisma that flourished in Jungle Fever and White Men Can't Jump, but he spends most of the movie looking like he's had his whole face Botoxed. Action movies may have made Snipes a lot of money, but they've drained his charm. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Wesley Snipes, Lochlyn Munro, Athena Karkanis, Winston Rekert, Ryan McDonald
  • Directors: Josef Rusnak
  • Writers: Jason Bourque, Keith Shaw
  • Producers: Ari Newman, Dan Lyon, David C. Olson, Jack Nasser, Kim Arnott
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Cantonese, Chinese, English, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 12, 2008
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001AK3S4E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,416 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Art of War II:Betrayal" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mark Turner on August 25, 2008
Format: DVD
I've been stunned by the career of Wesley Snipes. Forget the whole IRS issue from this past year. It has nothing to do with his acting ability or star power. But for someone to rise from bit parts to starring roles and then suddenly find himself in direct to video films, one has to question...what happened? Especially when he turns in a decent movie like THE ART OF WAR II: BETRAYAL.

Snipes returns as agent Neil Shaw, having gone underground at the end of the first film. Shaw receives word that his mentor and martial arts instructor, Mother, has passed away. At the funeral service, Shaw and the rest of those gathered meet the daughter no one knew Mother had. Heather (Athena Karkanis) talks with Shaw, blaming him for Mother's death only to change her mind later.

From there, Shaw goes to work as a consultant on a movie set where he has become friends with the star, Garrett (Lochlyn Munro). Invited to his boat, Shaw learns that Garrett is about to run for the Senate. It is then that he asks for Shaw's help with an apparent blackmailer. But as with all good spy/thriller films, nothing is what it seems.

As Shaw begins to dig into the possibilities, he also comes into contact with a Senator Carlson (Rachel Hayward), running once more for office and under observation by Shaw's old nemesis, Becker (Eric Brecker). It seems that there is an assassination attempt in store for the Senator and Shaw is on the case, unofficially of course, searching for not only the killer but the person behind the sanction.

Following up on leads, Shaw shows at a political cocktail party to question another Senator. Unfortunately for Shaw, the Senator has been murdered and he has been set up to take the fall.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Big Ron on December 30, 2008
Format: DVD
I was pleasantly surprised by Art of War 2. This movie flew under my radar in the theaters somehow. I didn't even hear about it until now (Dec 2008). For those reasons, I didn't expect much but I'm glad I was wrong. Wesley is a cool character in a role similar to the Bond and Bourne movies. Action is always around the corner with lots of stunts and martial arts. There is a heavy dose of martial arts as it seems everyone he fights knows it and knows it fairly well. I highly recommend Art of War 2 for anyone looking for more Wesley Snipes movies or something along the lines of Bond or Bourne action.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T. Cooper on August 13, 2008
Format: DVD
I liked this actually i thought it may have been maybe somewhat dull like the contractor but it was better than that, not as good as the first art of war, the fights were cool, nice action flick overall.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tsuyoshi on October 4, 2009
Format: DVD
"The Art of War II: Betrayal" is a straight-to-DVD film starring Wesley Snipes. I think this is worse than his "The Contractor" and even "The Detonator."

In "The Art of War II: Betrayal" Wesley Snipes plays Neil Shaw, a retired special agent now working for a movie star Garret (Lochlyn Munro) as action consultant. When his martial arts sensei is murdered, Neil is approached by a mysterious woman named Heather (Athena Karkanis) at his funeral, who claims she is a daughter of the dead master, and Neil is responsible for the death of her father.

The film never takes off with its plodding pace and the confusing plot that is unnecessarily twisted. There are a gun-wielding government operative and a corrupt big company leader out to kill a senator. I don't mind the weak storyline and these stock characters provided the film delivers good actions. Sorry, it doesn't. Josef Rusnak (who did a pretty impressive job with the sci-fi thriller "The Thirteenth Floor" starring Gretchen Mol) needs a better action choreographer. The action sequences, shoot-outs and martial arts fighting alike, are lackluster and unexciting, greatly damaged by amateurish editing. Also, the climax is unintentionally funny with cheesy special effects. Don't miss what happens to the villain at the end.

You know, the title of "The Art of War" came from the teaching of Sun Tzu, which are too good for this mess.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Seahorn on January 15, 2012
Format: DVD
Wesley Snipes has always been a main-eventer in my book regardless of his ranking in Hollywood, so it's nice that even in the middle of his DTV doldrums he's been able to produce a respectable action movie like this. I've never seen the original Art of War but the sequel here seems to stand well enough on its own. The movie's insistence on a plotline that may or may not intrigue eventually keeps it from a higher rating, but compared to the other fare that Snipes appeared in during this part of his career, it's decidedly superior.

The story: upon being called out retirement at the death of his sensei, agent Neil Shaw (Snipes) finds himself in the midst of a plot to assassinate several government officials with himself framed for one of them.

The movie's directed by The Thirteenth Floor's Josef Rusnak, and while he couldn't keep a handful of minor DTV-isms out of the studio's final cut of the movie (e.g. flashbacks, unnecessary slow motion), its overall quality is superior, making it appear like more than a low-budget production more often than not. The film's too full of its own story, however: writer Jason Bourque has penned some noteworthy stuff, but he devoted too much time here to characters walking/sitting around and talking about who did what and why; these lengthy exchanges should definitely have been briefer.
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