The Siege

Bomb Rating: 

It's a compelling lesson if you're in the second grade.

It's entirely possible that director Edward ("Glory") Zwick got hischaracters out of one of those 3-D shoot-em-up games like Duke Nukem, which typically feature better character development than most Hollywood films anyway. Imagine the character descriptions being read by Steve Sabol, the guy who narrates NFL Films, and you get a sense for the paper melodrama that marks "The Siege":

"Leading the charge against all that is wrong with the world is holier-than-thou FBI Special Agent Anthony 'Hub' Hubbard (Denzel Washington). Hubbard values a clean win and vows to bring terrorism down, but not at the expense of the Constitution and the rights of innocent fans. However, no one told that to evil General William Devereaux (Bruce Willis). Raised by machines until maturity, the General has no feelings and a soul as hard as frozen tundra. He knows 'yes, sir' and 'no, sir' and he follows coach's orders even if it means raping his mother and shooting his dog."

Then there's the woman caught in the middle, CIA operative Elise Kraft (Annette Bening). She feels a sense of duty to her country, but she also feels a sense of duty to the Iraqi revolutionaries her government stood up like Todd Solondz on prom night. Which will she sell out first: her soul or the Iraqi insider who's getting inside her? You make the call.

After a whole lot of terrorism, the President declares martial law in New York City and General Devereaux marches in with the troops, creates a bunch of internment camps, and throws a whole bunch of Arabs in them in an attempt to find out who's behind the bombings and who's been pissing in the hummus. This gives Zwick the chance he was always waiting for: to show what he learned in civics class all those years ago. It's a compelling lesson if you're in the second grade.

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