War, Inc.

"Weak"

War, Inc. Review


The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and in the case of John Cusack's over-the-top satire of the Iraq War, War, Inc., the intentions are obvious and the road leads to a particular place in Hell presided over by filmmakers (Stanley Kramer resides on the throne there) who want to fight the good fight but use a two-by-four pounded into the back of a viewer's head to emphasize the obvious. As writer/producer/star of War, Inc. Cusack wants to make a statement about the venality of the United States' involvement in Iraq and wants to make that statement in the worst way. And, unfortunately, he does. Cusack attempts to reconceive the hit man premise of Grosse Point Blank as a lacerating and biting political satire in the vein of Dr. Strangelove or Wag the Dog. Unfortunately, the end result is more along the lines of those disastrous, live-action cartoonish romps of the stinky 1960s vintage a la John Goldfarb, Please Come Home.

As in Grosse Point Blank, Cusack plays a world-weary hit man, Brand Hauser, who works for a Halliburton-inspired international corporation that has just completed a contract on the first 100-percent outsourced road in the fictional Middle Eastern country of Turaqistan. The head honcho of the corporation is the ex-Vice President (Dan Akyroyd on a toilet) who orders Hauser into Turaqistan to assassinate the chief Turaqistani minister, Omar Sharif (Lyubomir Neikov). Omar plans to one-up the corporation by installing his own oil pipeline in competition, and the corporation will have none of that. Hauser arrives under cover as the head of the Brand USA Trade Show, where he is responsible for a big gala extravaganza starring Yonica Babyyeah (Hilary Duff in a change of pace role as a sexy, slutty Britney Spears clone; at one point she moans pointedly after dropping a scorpion down her pants). Also on hand in Turaqistan is Natalie Hegalhuzen (Marisa Tomei), a Nation-esque reporter who immediately rubs Hauser the wrong way. Could this be love?

First-time director Joshua Seftel over-stirs this burlesque brew and flattens out the fizz. Both Seftel and Cusack keep looking over their shoulders making sure to mine the tale for heart and soft touches to counteract the nastiness. But for any lacerating satire to work, the filmmakers can't make nice and be afraid of offending anyone -- they have to square their jaws and drive headlong through the fiery cacophony. There is no denying the passion, but Cusack/Steftel can't see the forest for the trees. When the story develops, it is not so much about Turaqistan but about Hauser and Natalie falling in love and Yonica (in a head-revolving plot twist) reinventing herself as a child in a nuclear family (when Yonica sings "I'm Gonna Blow You Up," she does, but not in a violent sense, more like Ozzie and Harriet).

War, Inc. hums in the throwaway moments that should have been the main event -- tanks barrel down war ravaged streets advertising Popeye's Fried Chicken, a kick line of double amputees kick up their prosthetics to "New York, New York," a hooded cab driver has a photo ID also with a hood over his face, reporters partake of a Turaqistan War theme park ride to experience brutal combat the Disney World way. But the film constantly diverges from what is wants to be and gets wound up in nonsensical subplots (a plot to sell a video of Yonica's wedding night; details on Hauser's past) that devolve into a grab-bag free-for-all conclusion that would make the most politically liberal viewer turn reactionary.

War, what is it good for?



War, Inc.

Facts and Figures

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 4th September 2008

Box Office USA: $0.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $1.3M

Budget: $5M

Distributed by: First Look Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 30%
Fresh: 24 Rotten: 57

IMDB: 5.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Joshua Seftel

Producer: , Vic David, Doug Dearth, , Grace Loh, Mark Roper,

Starring: as Brand Hauser, as Yonica Babyyeah, as Natalie Hegalhuzen, as Marsha Dillon, as Mr. Vice President, as Ooq-Mi-Fay Taqnufmini, as Ooq-Yu-Fay Taqnufmini / Zubleh, as Himself, as GuideStar Voice (voice), as Walken / The Viceroy, Lyubomir Neikov as Omar Sharif, Nikolay Stanoev as Bhodi Bhundhang, Bashar Rahal as Video Guy #1, Velislav Pavlov as Video Guy #2, Zahary Baharov as Video Guy #3, Andrey Slabakov as Cameraman, Velizar Binev as German Businessman, Itai Diakov as Kid In Fallaf, Stanimir Stamatov as Posse Guy, Georgi Gatzov as Sound Man, Krassimir Simeonov as Tamerlane Guard #1, Velizar Peev as Thug, George Zlatarev as Director

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.