Art of War artwork created by Tarlan

Art of War


Neil Shaw
Eleanor Hooks
Frank Capella
Julia Fang
David Chan
Robert Bly
U.N. Secretary General Douglas Thomas     
Ambassador Wu
Wesley Snipes
Anne Archer
Maury Chaykin
Marie Matiko
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Michael Biehn
Donald Sutherland
Liliana Komorowska
James Hong


Note: Synopsis written from memory so there may be some inaccuracies.

Michael Biehn Archive - Art of War 01 Opening Scene:

It is minutes from the start of the new millennium and Neil Shaw, a covert operative, is at the penthouse, Millennium party of industrialist, David Chan. Shaw manages to access a lower room and move a computer so that it can be activated via infrared by a van parked in the street below the high-storey building.

Inside the van are two more agents. One is female - Novak - and the other is Robert Bly. He is monitoring the download from the PC and, when he attempts to light up a cigarette, his co-worker stops him. As the countdown to the Millennium continues, Shaw gets Bly to display some of the PC data on the large screen showing inside the party. At this point, Shaw has reached the North Korean defence minister, who is having oral sex performed on him by a young girl hiding under the table. Shaw directs the minister's attention to the screen where top-secret defense plans and weaponry information flashes across for a few seconds.

Shaw completes his mission by successfully blackmailing the defence minister, but he is spotted by Chan's men and ends up in a kung fu-style fight as he makes his escape. He jumps from the top of the building just as the countdown completes and fireworks light up the sky, activating a parachute. Chan's men fire at him, and he is hit in the shoulder but escapes.

Michael Biehn Archive - Art of War 02 Six months later:

Neil Shaw is playing basketball alone when Bly joins him. They go one-on-one, while Bly asks Shaw if he ever wonders which of them is the best operative. They clash and Shaw falls, reopening the wound in his still-healing shoulder. Bly is concerned and takes him to the nearest hospital to have it sutured.

Despite this, Shaw is ready to go on a mission at the Chinese embassy where Ambassador Wu is due to speak. This coincides with the gruesome discovery of dozens of Vietnamese refugees, believed housed in Hong Kong but found dead in a container.

Bly's cover appears to be as a cameraman, with Shaw acting as the news reporter. Novak is undercover as a waitress.

Julia is a translator working for the embassy. She is in a booth with another girl, talking about life in the U.S. She leaves, and while she is gone, a figure covered entirely in black, concealing the identity, goes into the room and garrote's the other translator. The figure uses the room to gain a clear shot of Ambassador Wu as he gives his speech, and assassinates him with a single bullet through the forehead.

Shaw gives chase, overhearing Bly as he also goes after the assassin. Shaw ends up on a construction site, and hears gunshots. He calls for Bly, twice, but gains no answer, clearly concerned that his colleague is dead. As he runs out of the building, searching for the assassin, he is apprehended by a massive Police presence, thereby ending the chase.

Michael Biehn Archive - Art of War 03 On the Run:

Shaw is forced to go on the run with Julia Fang, the Chinese translator, when all evidence for the assassination points towards him. He has already found his co-worker, Novak, dead and finds what the killers had been looking for, a tape that would implicate the true power behind the assassination.

He figures out that David Chan may be behind the assassination but Chan is murdered just as Shaw manages to infiltrate Chan's residence and get him alone. Shaw gives chase when the killer leaps over the parapet, ending back up at the construction site. The killer has dropped a tracker device, and Shaw realizes that the locator is hidden upon him, thereby letting the killer know where he was at any time. In shock, Shaw discovers that the locator has been implanted within his shoulder wound.

The killer attacks, and Shaw discovers it is Bly.

Robert Bly: How does it feel to be a puppet without the strings?

Shaw needs to get the tape, which Julia has translated, to the UN ambassador. They go to the UN building. Bly is there too, and he locks Julia into the ladies' bathroom, intending to deal with her more slowly, later. Bly goes to see his - and Neil Shaw's - employer, Eleanor Hooks, and we discover that she is behind it all, playing a deadly game for her own ends.

Hooks threatens Bly, saying it could just as easily have been him instead of Shaw on the run.

Robert Bly: I agreed to play Neil because I wanted to, not because of the money, and certainly not because of your right-wing ideology

Hooks tells Bly she will take care of the guards in the lobby by authorizing a Motion Sensor test, giving Bly a thirty-minute window in which to take care of Shaw. Bly goes to the security room and kills the guard watching the surveillance monitors so he can locate Shaw.

Realizing he is in danger, Shaw contacts Detective Frank Capella. When Shaw seemingly tries to leave the building, Bly locks him inside the revolving door. As he approaches Shaw, he starts to speak...

Robert Bly: Art of War Chapter 13 the Doomed Spy... sacrificing an agent without his knowledge to turn the battle in your favor. Befriending you, gaining your trust, all the while setting you up to take the fall.

Michael Biehn Archive - Art of War 04 When Bly is within firing range of the revolving door, he is shocked to realize that the man inside is Capella, and not Shaw. Bly goes in search of Shaw and they fight in the elevator lobby. Bly gets the upper hand but Shaw forces the muzzle of Bly's gun into the floor, and forces him to pull the trigger, the result causes splinters of flooring up into Bly's face and he loses his grip on Shaw. They fight, hand-to-hand, and Bly throws his gun, which misses Shaw and shatters the large ornamental glass depicting a gun with its barrel knotted over the top of the UN symbol.

Bly falls towards the glass remaining in the frame, and is impaled through the throat and, presumably, dies.


The Police catch up to Shaw and, as he does not surrender, they kill him. In the meantime, Hooks is proud of her achievement, unaware until too late that her driver has been replaced by an assassin wanting to avenge the death of David Chan. He executes her in her car, with a single bullet through the forehead.

The final scene is a street in France, possibly St. Tropez. Julia is seated outside in a street café and we see a man approach her. It is Neil Shaw. His death had been a set up with Capella and he walks away, arm-in-arm with Julia... except there is a man with a camera, who takes photos of the couple, covertly.