It wasn't THAT bad
I've read some seriously negative reviews of The Art of War. There are IMDb users out there who hated this movie to no end, which leads me to wonder why I rented it in the first place, having read many of these reviews already, and why it was seen as so much worse than anything Wesley Snipes has done up to this point. Snipes has made some good movies, and some bad ones, just like almost every actor out there (although there are certainly some that only make good ones and some that only make bad ones, but Snipes seems to have about an equal amount of each, maybe leaning slightly in favor of the bad), and I don't really think The Art of War is any different. It's a typical action film in which he plays virtually the exact same character that he played in Rising Sun, except here he's been framed as an assassin and, as is always the case with movies in which the good guy has been framed for some crime, he has to set out to prove his innocence with no help from the police and without knowing who he can trust.
(spoilers) Michael Biehn stars as Robert Bly, Neil Shaw's (Snipes) ill-fated partner. Biehn has been largely missing in action (pun intended) for several years, his only notable appearances since the spectacular Terminator (and since being deleted from Terminator 2) being an excellent role in The Rock and his thoroughly enjoyable performances in movies like The Abyss, Aliens, and Navy SEALS. Given this iconology, it's strange to consider the role that he was given in The Art of War. Naturally, actors are given roles that go against their iconography all the time (a recent example would be Tom Hanks in The Road to Perdition), but there is generally a reason for that or at least something about that actor's personality or charisma that fits with the role that they are given. In The Art of War, there is little reason to have Biehn play the role that he plays other than to cover up the plot twist near the end of the film. That's just weak writing.
Like I said above, I enjoyed The Art of War more than many other reviewers seemed to. The introduction of the conflict is particularly impressive. The chase through the building early in the film is not only exciting, but thoroughly convincing so that you really don't guess what's really happening. Regardless of how the mystery is created (whether or not it be because of the strange role given to Michael Biehn), consider how well the frame was set up. Shaw is running through this building chasing the bad guy, he hears his partner shot twice on the radio, so just as he bursts into the street which is crowded with police, his adrenaline is pumping and his face is contorted with the grief of knowing that his partner has just been killed. It's easy to understand that the police could have mistaken his expression for grief at having been caught trying to escape the scene of the crime that they think he has just committed.
I might like to take this opportunity to point out that while I certainly found The Art of War to be at least a mildly entertaining action film, I did not find it to be any more than that. It is most certainly a vehicle for some good Wesley Snipes action, but is there really anything wrong with that? I personally enjoy watching Steven Seagal movies and Van Damme movies, just because they're entertaining and, quite often, more amusing than anything else. Given that, I would not be being fair if I condemned The Art of War for not having much intellectual content to speak of.
I am normally not one to forgive stupidity in the movies, but the thing that allows me to forgive the cheesy action in The Art of War (as an example of how seriously the movie takes itself, consider the extensive kung-fu fighting scene that takes place during the New Year celebration early in the film, to the grand enjoyment of everyone in attendance, who are all lucky enough to see it close up on the big screen) is that it doesn't pretend to be anything else. Unlike a Bruckheimer film, it does not throw in all of the necessary ingredients to attract every kind of audience that can be attracted to an audience, which is an unfortunately prevalent tactic that results in a lot of movies that could have been great but instead come out as muddy messes. The Art of War is a straight up action film, and whether you loved it or hated it or anything in between, you have to respect it for allowing itself to be seen as such in a society that more and more seems to condemn purity in the movies.