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- Nice concept, right actors but an absolute directorial and writing disaster
I saw most of this movie in the theater, but the film's direction is absolutely unbearable. There are moments when the satire does shine through the sloppiness of the film-maker, but it's a train wreck of a film. If you can suffer through terrible directing and extremely sloppy story-writing, then you may be able to sit through this whole movie. The actors are just fine, and the ideas are fine, but it's a poorly executed mess. That's probably why it was shelved for several years before finally seeing a small theatrical release. And if this is the best job the editors could do with it... then I'd hate to see what the original first several cuts looked like.
Going into this movie I really wanted to like it. I loved "Grosse Point Blank." (This is supposed to be an unofficial sequel of sorts.) I love the Cusacks' work. I like the concept. I tried very hard to like the film, but had to leave after watching most of it. Like I said, if you can ignore things like sloppy, loose-ended writing and film direction that's the visual equivalent to hearing fingernails on a chalk board, you stand a chance of enjoying it. I couldn't deal with this horrible mess no matter how hard I tried. I'm giving it two stars instead of one simply because I didn't watch the last twenty minutes or so, and while I doubt it got any better, I have to allow for some slack. Otherwise this would be a one star review.
Most likely you are better off watching "Grosse Point Blank" again instead....more info
- You'll Love It or Hate It: Grosse Point Goes to Iraq on LSD
Most people will NOT enjoy this movie, but a select few will find it provocatively funny. War, Inc. is an almost surreal blend of Dr. Strangelove, Grosse Point Blank, Fargo, Apocalypse Now, and a cerebral National Lampoon movie (if such a contradiction in terms were possible... imagine Animal House Goes to Iraq). Don't bother if you're annoyed by convoluted subplots backfilled by indiscriminate flashback scenes, or looking for a good laugh in a light romantic comedy.
Despite an all-star cast (John Cusack, Marisa Tomei, Hilary Duff, Joan Cusack, Ben Kingsley and Dan Akroyd), War, Inc. will fall flat for most people. Set in a fictional third-world Islamic country, this satire of the American military-industrial complex is a blatant backdrop for further jabs at the Cheney/Halliburton/Blackwater junta. John Cusack's ability to write some of the cleverest dialogue in modern cinema allows his character to be interesting and sometimes brilliant, (especially when interacting with Marisa Tomei and Hilary Duff). Good acting and interesting dialogue will not be enough for the average viewer to enjoy this film. Offensively hilarious scenes (a chorus line of local war amputees on prosthetic legs) will either leave the viewer rolling on the floor or slack-jawed in revulsion.
There's something reminiscent in War, Inc. of the failed 1983 film, Deal of the Century, another satire of the military industrial complex with a great cast (Chevy Chase, Sigourney Weaver and Gregory Hines). Unlike the mediocre Deal of the Century, Cusacks' newest film is more like Fargo in the sense you'll either love or hate it; but unlike Fargo, I think the vast majority of viewers will fall on the wrong side of getting the punch line. Like a Big Mac, this film blends a lot of different ingredients together (perhaps too many), and like a Big Mac, you'll either be delighted or disgusted... which is why I gave it 3 stars, because you'll give it either 1 or 5.
You'll like this movie if:
You prefer watching Dr. Strangelove or Grosse Point Blank after a six pack or some mind-altering substance.
You'll dislike this movie if:
You want a straightforward laugh, are looking forward to Hilary Duff reprising her usual rolls, can't stand political satire, or are expecting a repeat of Grosse Point Blank.
- Spiritual Sequel to Grosse Point Blank Does Not Disappoint
This sharp and witty political satire may be remembered as Hilary Duff's finest hour a decade from now, but most viewers will be occupied and intrigued by John Cusak's return to material that was so brilliantly spun in Grosse Point Blank. Though lacking the subtlety of the earlier film this movie has its moments and what priceless moments they are. Don't let anyone spoil this one for you and watch it with as open a mind as possible. Enjoy!...more info
- What a strange & smart little movie
I loved it. Take John Cusack, add 1 part Brazil and pour over Starship Troopers, and you've got a hilariously bizaare commentary on geopolitics and the industrial war machine.
Its dark, and I mean, almost navy. Its only downfall is its heaviness, and sometimes it and the metaphors are jammed down your throat a little too often, but the ensemble cast is actually phenomenal, with Ben Kingsley and even Hillary Duff doing a great job (I can't believe I typed that).
You will laugh, if you have a dark sense of humor and like smart comedy. This movie is very timely, with the rise of the military farming out their work to private security (who are portrayed to be the craziest of all the crazies in the movie). Its small wonder it tanked in the box office, but if you have a proclivity towards movies like Dr. Strangelove, you'll find this to be one of the better movies you watched this year....more info
- Unknown masterpiece?
Why is this movie so little known? It's one of the best antiwar satires since "Wag the Dog", with direct reference to Iraq. Maybe that's why....more info
- Worst Cusack movie ever
You get the point 5 minutes in. Zero funny, 100% boring. A very painful movie....more info
- Not Funny and Not "Smart"
Ok, just because this movie bashes the Bush administation doesn't make this a "smart" movie.
This is a "bad" movie.
it reminded me of a mix between the awful "Southland Tales" and the horrible "Home of the Brave" - except worse, because I had to shut this off not even half way through....more info
- This Movie Has No Dividends
War Inc. is a bad movie. John Cusack shouldn't have been allowed to have this much scene time.
Peter Hammond of the Box Office Magazine compares this movie to Dr. Strangelove. I didn't know anything about Hammond, but now I do know he is crazy.
The ONLY redeemable part of the movie is the idea of putting advertisements on battle tanks.
This film is utter utter garbage. Just another reminder of the decline of the film industry ...more info
- Big budget, great actors, potentially incendiary subject, surprisingly inept script.
I certainly hope my video store doesn't double-charge me because it took me 6 days and several sittings to finish it. The comedy angle is certainly stale, the general endpoint of the "plot" becomes clear within the first 15 minutes and its cinematographic and soundtrack DNA is a derivative clone of better films like Full Metal Jacket (one scene's setup & music was clearly calling for "These Boots Are Made For Walking").
The issues it so clumsily attempts to address deserve a better airing than this. Yup, I "got" many of the references to real events. But nope, it's still lame. In fact, because it is so cheesy, it ends up doing its feeble best to discredit criticism of war-profiteering, political manipulations and the general ineptness of post-invasion Iraq occupation.
I wonder how people reading the script could possibly miss the thick layer of stupidity that so effectively negates its satire....more info
- Political satire at its best!
This film is laugh-out-loud funny. John Cusack is hilarious as a morally conflicted hit man caught in a situation that he can neither walk away from or endure. Hillary Duff is perfect as the spoiled, self-absorbed pop star and Marisa Tomei brings home the part of the left-wing journalist trying to make sense of the ludicrous situation. And, of course, Joan Cusack is always a pleasure to watch especially when she's playing off her brother. The political satire is dead-on and would be even funnier if it didn't reflect the reality of current events. ...more info
- War Inc., Prophetic Flick on Corporate Warfare
Well, John Cusack is in an other kooky flick that's take place in the not-so-distant future in an imaginary country called Turaqistan, of which has recently been defeated by contracted soldiers in the name of corporate greed. Like a reality trade show, Turaqistan is going to become the star of an international show in which it is rebuilt with the help of Tammerlane sponsorship. The protagonist is sent to the country under the cover of a contractor-producer for the major rebuilding show. But really he's an assassin sent to take out an Omar Sharif, the oil minister who attempts to nationalize certain pipe-lines that have yet to be constructed. This assassin, Hauser, is a bitter man, a lonely man, a man who found his wife murdered and his child kidnapped. Only the continuation of corrupt international corporate warfare will pay his bills.
Under his cover job, Hauser mostly chaperoned what was considered the Brittany Spears of Turaqistan. Yonika is a sexually obsessed singer who is future wife of the heir to the Turaqistan throne. Though Hauser is later exposed to her secret obsession with playing acoustic ballads. In English. This is somehow supposed to be more true and native to the woman. I didn't really buy it. Wouldn't she be speaking in her own tongue, using native instruments and styles? Maybe I'm just crazy.
There's also a journalist who protested the war and naturally hates Hauser. For some random reason Hauser grows an infatuation with the woman. Her character only serves as a plot-device to get the three characters into an abandoned manor for an interview with the singer, sponsored by Houser. Here, they are attacked by the fianc¨¦'s entourage who are now shunned by the government for attempting to digitize Yonika's consummation on DVD. Really though, they were used as fodder by Hauser and Sharif so that the heir to the Turaqi throne remains blameless for such a scandal.
The entourage was a little ticked.
But most end up dead and the hands of Hauser.
There are a few more action scenes that involve the journalist's kidnapping and eventual rescue. Hauser confronting his boss in an almost wacky chase scene along with the revelation of Hauser's daughter. Turns out, she's Yonika. What a twist! This was kind of ridiculous since there is almost no evidence in the beginning or middle scenes that give credit to Yonika's American origin. Other than the fact that she doesn't know who her father is. Whoopdi do. Seems a little extravagant for a kidnapper, who turns out to be Hauser's old boss, to raise a random girl in a Mid-Eastern nation to blossom into sexy pop star and marry heir to the Turaqi throne, just to make things weird for Hauser.
But I digress.
This flick is somewhat witty in an all too frightful satire of American corporate imperialism, but it just doesn't pull off the moral/satirical message that it attempts to convey. The acting and protagonist set-up is so inclined to an older flick that War, Inc. might as well have been called Gross Pointe Blank II: Revenge of Dan Ackroyd. The general plot development seemed so random at times that I wasn't sure if I was watching a movie about victims of a Middle Eastern war or victims of the screenwriter's strike. Then there were the pity scenes. That's right, the scenes given to Joan Cusack because she happens to be related to John Cusack. Again, Joan plays an all too often pissy secretary and over-embellishes everything she says. Cut her off!
Likely Page Break
The overall satire was kind of ironic as well. Obviously it illustrates the growing concern of corporate greed on an international scale and man's obsession with pop culture. But a lot of action scenes are initiated by an entourage of dim-witted Mid-Easterners that must be pulverized by the white anti-hero, Hauser. A little too great white hope symbolism, though I do appreciate the insanity of the American troops out in the battle-field listening to metal as they spray bullets into an already war-torn city. Overall the ratio between exposing the wrongs of American imperialism and fundamentalist terrorism is pretty even.
The end of the movie was definitely something left to be desired. It's like they threw a bunch of annoyingly inconsistent characters into one big happy family after the whole daughter situation is discovered. I'm just glad that I saw a missile chase after their plane at the end. If only Joan Cusack's character was on it....more info
- Film tries to be a black comedy, but is simply an "Ishtar" for the new millenium!!
I thought "Wow, John Cusack as a hit man with issues, Ben Kingsley, Marisa Tomei? What the &%$#, it's a dollar rental." I was ripped off.
When Dan Ackroyd & Joan Cusack appeared, I hoped I was in for a little "Grosse Pointe Blank" reunion, but no such luck. Ackroyd & Joan were fine, and Joan really sort of cut loose, chewing that scenery like we all knew she could. Ben Kingsley was wonderful, Marisa Tomei ditto. Actually, all the veteran actors were fine......too bad they had this script to work with.
This was sort of like a "Wag The Dog" for MTV fans(those who don't know it used to be a music video channel).
Watching/hearing Hilary Duff was excruciating, but all I know about her is what I see at the supermarket checkout line, or what [...] blares on its homepage. I can definiitely see some sort of Central Asian/Eurotrash teen pop star acting just like her character.....or Miley Cyrus.
The corporate military operations aspect has been done far earlier & better in Catch-22 "What's good for M & M Enterprises is good for America". Some great casting, but I'm glad I only paid $1 to rent this, and while my favorite comedy is black, this wasn't a black comedy, it only aspired to be.
The bottom line is the last line of the movie "Where are we going?" This flick had no idea, & I think the director(if there was one) was given this gig to pay off a bet...more info
- Grosse Blank
I actually loved "Grosse Pointe Blank," even turning my very liberal son onto it, which DVD he then bought. This movie is a pretty "grosse" attempt at a sequel. I have a feeling that the question they asked when they casted this flick was, "who would most like to disrespect America and our troops in Iraq?" Where I was rolling in the aisles for the original, I found myself struggling to achieve a smirk in this attempt at humor. If you are one of the foaming-at-the-mouth haters of the last administration, you probably rated this 4-stars. As for this clear-thinking patriot, I thought it sucked!...more info
- Kinda Blah
I loved "Grosse Point Blank" and "High Fidelity" with Cusack and "My Cousin Vinny" with Tomei. Didn't love this movie, though. Although the production quality was really good and the acting was decent, it just didn't work for me. It seemed like it was mixing too many genres and not doing any of them justice....more info
- War is a smash mouth parody ....
...Smash mouth in that it doesn't try to be aubtle or discreet in its brutal assault on American foreign policy or consumerism in the world today. If you can get past its blatant attempts to punish America for its many shortcomings, it is a slightly entertaining story. Guy has unusual job, meets girl of his future, meets other girl who makes him react funny, and has a life changing series of moments. You also witness a haunted past from our Protaganist, and an antagonist you didn't even know existed at the beginning of film. The humor is there but its very dry and on its head....more info
- This movie was great!
I thought this was very canny, dead-on satire of corporate policies in the Middle East. Cusak did a great job. His nuanced performance expressed a lot of backhanded humor. All the caricatures were dead-on, and Hillary Duff's character was hysterical. The story had moral and philosophical depth. Surrealist Mark Leyner's influence can be seen throughout the film (he wrote the screenplay, along with Cusak and Jeremy Pisker), yet still it is not very much more surreal than what I know to be happening in Baghdad currently. Very symbolic, very relevant to current affairs, an absolute must-see. ...more info
- Barely three stars
I have to agree with the average of review stars. This movie wasn't that good. The story was supposed to be a sendup of CIA-type flicks, but it fell a bit flat, and didn't ever get the laughs it seemed to be going for. The black humor was more of a gray color... Joan Cusack, I could have done without, in her shrill, typecast role. I like Marisa Tomei, but she was not well directed as the "normal" one. You could be excused for confusing Ben Kingsley with Patrick Stewart in X-Men... This movie couldn't make up its mind to be one thing or the other, either a campy but semi-serious spy flick or a total crazy sendup, and it floundered for that reason. If you want a good movie of this type, try Wag the Dog, or Dr. Strangelove, or even Primary Colors (tho that does not include war, just politics). Or any of Pierce Brosnan's Bond flicks. Or even Sneakers. They're all better than this....more info