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The Art of War Reviewed
The video jacket promotes this 2000 action-packed movie saying, "He worked covert operations for the U.N. He was one of the best they had. Until he found himself running for his life."

This movie features Wesley Snipes, Anne Archer, Donald Sutherland and Michael Biehn. The MPAA Rating lists this as a "R" film due to the strong violence, some sexuality, language and brief drug content." The movie presents Snipes as a "James Bond" figure who is an expert at martial arts and covert activities. The video store does not check ID for age. Anyone can rent this film.
Wesley Snipes - Art of War

Snipes, posed as an elegant spy, navigates a dangerous path up the side of a building. In the image at right, Snipes dangles from a sign high above the city and nearly falls. Using the latest high technology equipment, Snipes hacks a computer system using a laser infra-red reader.

With the great feat accomplished, Snipes' assistants in the command center let out sighs of relief. The male begins to light a cigarette, as to celebrate. His female partner snatches the cigarette before he can light it; the male expresses his frustration with the woman.
Snipes - Above the City
Male begins to smoke Female snatches cigarette Man is upset
MASCOT believes this movie could have stood alone -- without the smoking scene. What was the purpose of showing the man begin to light up? The film director has a similar scene later in the film.

We call your attention to a number of aspects of this imagery. First, was the smoking act an attempt to celebrate, or did the director use this act to suggest the man was trying to relieve stress? Second, how about secondhand smoke? This is clearly a very small and tightly-closed command center. Third, the scene portrays the female as a goody-goody "mother figure" who is scolding the "bad boy" for wanting to smoke.

This is the complex messaging surrounding smoking in movies. Smoking is not a celebration -- yet this is what our young people see thousands of times as they mature. Smoking does not relieve stress. This is a lie furthered by the tobacco industry. Nicotine addiction causes a smoker to "crave" a cigarette. It is the craving for nicotine that causes a build-up of stress and anxiety.

In a later scene (shown below), the smoking male approaches Snipes on the basketball court. The message here is that it is okay to smoke in recreational areas. The two soon play a "competitive" game of one-on-one. The fact that a smoker wouldn't be able to compete due to his bad lungs is lost in the movie. Many illusions...


Two friends Smoking on the court Smoking and playing hoops