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THE ART OF WAR

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Full Name: Neil Shaw
Nationality: American
Organization: U.N.S.A.D.
Occupation Agent

Creator: Wayne Beach, Simon Berry
Time Span: 2000 - 2009

ABOUT THE SERIES

Neil Shaw is an agent of U.N.S.A.D.

That acronym stands for the United Nations Special Activities Division, a covert department inside the behemoth U.N. which employs espionage and, as one review puts it, 'quasi-ethical tactics' to help maintain peach and international cooperation.

Shaw, an African-American male in his late 30's, has worked for this organization for some time based on the way that he interacts with his superiors and fellow operatives. He is definitely liked and respected but at the same time his predilection for doing things his way has gotten him into considerable trouble in the past and that is highly unlikely to change.

Shaw is a ruggedly handsome, charismatic man of action who is a student of and believer in Sun Tzu's famous treatise on the best ways to conduct international affairs up to and including armed combat to achieve the desired goal of victory; much of the tactics that Sun Tzu preached and which Shaw personally follows is studying the enemy well before taking action and then striking quickly and decisively when the opponent is not expecting it.

Since this swift and unexpected action is also often done without his own people knowing what he is planning, his successes are often congratulated even as his methods are not.

We learn virtually nothing about Shaw's background as well as none about his personal life except for the chances that with his constant stream of missions, it is unlikely he has much of a chance to enjoy one. That looks to be about to change at the end of his first recorded adventure when he fakes his own death to start a life with a reporter that he meets during the activity. Since he is brought back for more missions, however, how long or well that relationship lasts is questionable.

MOVIES

Number of Movies:3
First Appearance:2000
Last Appearance:2009

According to articles on Wikipedia, the first movie did quite well for itself, though it did not earn back its expensive price tag. It must have done well enough to warrant a pair of sequels almost a decade later.

One fascinating tidbit is that the third movie "was actually produced before The Art of War II: Betrayal, but shelved after Wesley Snipes contacted the producers about returning to the series. Though consideration was initially given to releasing it as a stand-alone film named 'Intervention', it was ultimately released as the third Art of War film."

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MY COMMENTS

Back in the day, and that day was not all that long ago, I was a huge Wesley Snipes fan and watched every movie he made. His action adventures were so good and he was so intense and menacing when he wanted to be - and he seemed to want that a lot - that I made sure I viewed them more than once. In the case of the first movie in the Shaw series, make that three or four times. I loved it.

Then life happened and time passed and I vaguely read about the second one coming out many years later but never watched it then (did much later) and I never heard of the third one. And never thought to include these in this compendium until a fellow spy fan recommended it.

Which gave me a reason to check out the two I had missed and - you guessed it - watch the first one again.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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