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Film / Rules of Engagement

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Rules of Engagement is a 2000 military legal thriller directed by William Friedkin, starring Samuel L. Jackson as USMC Colonel Terry Childers, a Marine Officer charged with ordering the massacre of civilians protesting outside an embassy, and Tommy Lee Jones as USMC Colonel Hayes Hodges, a JAG lawyer and old friend of Childers, who is defending him against the charges.

Co-stars Bruce Greenwood, Guy Pearce, Blair Underwood, Ben Kingsley, and Anne Archer.


Tropes positively identified here are:

  • The Alcoholic: Colonel Hodges.
  • Colonel Badass: Childers. Hodges, not so much.
  • Court-Martialed: Childers.
  • Jaded Washout: Hodges is an interesting case. The description of him states that he returned from a brutal battle in Vietnam and “became a cynic” graduating 67th in his law school class at Georgetown Law, has lost more cases than he won, and is two weeks from retirement. But he made Colonel, implying a highly successful career as a JAG attorney, and is shown to be well-liked by other marines during his retirement party.
  • Precision F-Strike: WASTE THE MOTHERFUCKERS!! As uttered by Samuel L. Jackson himself.
  • Spiritual Successor: To A Few Good Men.


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