Thursday, June 26, 2008

War, Inc. DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Sophisticated Political Satire Starring John Cusack Released on DVD

In the not too distant future, if it hasn’t already transpired, mega-corporations might replace nations as the world’s most powerful political entities. This is the state of affairs contemplated by War, Inc., a sophisticated satire which reads like a logical extension of what cynics say already unfolded in Iraq.
The plot revolves around the efforts of a former U.S. Vice-President (Dan Aykroyd) to monopolize the economy of a mythical war-torn country, Turaqistan, on behalf of Tamerlane, an American company to which he has close ties. This scenario amounts to a thinly-veiled allusion to Dick Cheney’s ostensibly engineering lucrative no-bid contracts in Iraq on behalf of Halliburton and its subsidiaries.
The fun starts soon after the ex-VP hires a mercenary, Brand Hauser (John Cusack), to kill Omar Sharif (Lyubomir Neikov ), no, not the actor, but a Middle East oil minister representing Tamerlane’s primary competitor. Upon arriving in Turaqistan, Hauser is ushered into Emerald City, a heavily-fortified sanctuary suspiciously similar to the Green Zone where, while waiting for an opportunity to eliminate Omar, spends most of his free time wooing a leftist American journalist (Marisa Tomei).
Like a campy cross of Dr. Strangelove and Wag the Dog, this celluloid anti-war screed serves up a mesmerizing mélange of action, romance, slapstick, intrigue, gore, sentimentality, sensuality and sleight of hand when not offering pointed insights about the dire prospects for a corporatized planet. As humorous as it is thought-provoking, War, Inc. is chock full of memorable moments, perhaps the best being the hand-to-hand showdown in the belly of a garbage truck between our reluctant hero and a worthy adversary (Ben Kingsley). Ever seen a villain trash compacted into submission?
A preposterous, impossible to pigeonhole spoof which somehow satisfactorily adds up to more than the sum of its seemingly incompatible parts.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for violence, profanity and brief sexuality.
Running time: 107 minutes
Studio: First Look Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Previews.

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