War, Inc. (2008) Joshua Seftel
Production Budget: $10 million
Worldwide Gross: about $2 million
Man, first I watch a very religious movie and onto a political movie. I’m just on a roll this week. War, Inc. is a “satire” which follows Brand Hauser (John Cusack) who is a freelance hit man. He is hired by Vice President Cheney, I mean, an anonymous *cough cough* Vice President who wants to assassinate a Middle Eastern financier from building a pipeline so he could build his own pipeline. Brand is haunted by a troubled past where his wife was killed and his daughter was kidnapped by former CIA head of operations played by Ben Kingsley doing a Southern accent (and really its as bad as it sounds on paper). Brand’s cover is he is running a corporate Trade Show in the country of Turaquistan where he has to plan the public wedding of a Middle Eastern Brittany Spears pop star called Yonica Babyyeah (Hillary Duff). Meanwhile there is a contrived love interest in a left wing reporter played by Marissa Tomei (who I feel sad that she is wasted in this).
Really this movie is a pale pale pale pale pale pale pale pale pale pale pale pale pale remake of Grosse Point Blank with a political theme. Pale. The one joke, and I mean one joke which they hammer home again and again and again, is the fact Dick Cheney profited from the War in Iraq. THAT’S IT! That is the rapier like wit we are dealing with. Well, okay, we make fun of Brittany like pop stars. But that is like hitting a batting practice fastball and it is a played out joke. Other jokes are just…odd. For example, whenever Brand has flashbacks about his dead wife, he slams a shot glass of hot sauce to ease the pain. The worse the flashback the hotter the sauce. Is that supposed to be funny? I’m sorry, I just don’t get the connection between suicidal guilt and shotgunning tobassco. Of course the main reason most people will see this movie (and the only reason for me to see it) is John Cusack. Cusack just looks tired of playing the quirky love interest and wants to do something better. His scenes where he is seducing Tomei’s character is just painful as he is just going through the motions. There are some funny bits like, oddly enough, the John Cusack fight scenes, and a running gag where Cusack has a friendship with his OnStar operator. Those moments are few and far between though. Ben Kingsley, well, do I even need to ask anymore? Oh and there is a twist at the end which will have you’re head slamming against the wall for hours. You ready? [spoiler]Yonica Babyyeah is Brand’s daughter who was kidnapped several years ago.[/spoiler]
Satires are hard enough to do: political satires are doubly so. You have to be extremely funny to break through people’s biases. I really have to give Stephen Colbert credit sometimes. He is a complete mockery of all right wing pundits and extreme right wingers in general. Yet he might even be more popular by the right wing crowd than the left wing audience. He is like the Jeff Foxworthy of right wing pundits where is audience somehow appreciates the fact he is completely mocking them. With War, Inc. you have already alienated the right wing audience with the obvious message. With the other half, they are probably tired of hearing things they already know and hearing tired jokes. I feel like I have seen this movie a thousand times before. As a political satire it bombs completely and as a John Cusack movie it is very tired. Avoid please.