War Inc on UK DVD at last

Saturday, 14 March 2009 10:14

When you look at the assembled cast list for “War, Inc”, it’s difficult to comprehend why this film is not more widely known. As I watched it, part of me thought that maybe some of the production team were trying to make a “Doctor Strangelove” for the 21st Century, while the majority of the crew hadn’t actually seen that movie to be able to use it as reference material.  This project is satire which, at times, is uncomfortable to watch, and is not exactly sure who the targets of their anger are (or should be).

In at the centre of the production is John Cusack (of “High Fidelity” fame), playing a character called Brand Hauser, an assassin, while also having a role as co-writer and co-producer of the movie itself. Cusack’s sister, Joan, is also in the movie, and was quoted as saying she sort-of saw this as an indirect sequel to 1997’s “Grosse Pointe Blank”, in which they both also featured.

War Inc DVDSet in the near future, Turaqistan is being torn apart by rioting, after a corporation called Tamerlane has taken over the country. Dan Aykroyd plays a former Vice President of the United States who is pulling the strings, and this role is a thinly disguised caricature of Dick Cheney and his interest in ‘oilfield services corporation’ Halliburton.,

Enter Brand Hauser (John Cusack), a hit man who suppresses his emotions by gulping down hot sauce, hired by the corporation to kill the Chief Executive of their rivals.

A cover story gets him to where he needs to be – although helping out with a big wedding for the outrageous Asian superstar singer Yonica Babyyeah (in a typecast-busting performance by teen star Hilary Duff) creates some unwanted distractions.

Everything changes when Brand finds himself falling in love with reporter Natalie Hegalhuzen (Marisa Tomei), and developing fatherly feelings for Yonica.

Sir Ben Kingsley continues his bizarre choices of movies to take part in, playing the role of the psychotic Walken, in what is perhaps the strongest homage to “Strangelove” within the whole movie.

This is a deeply-flawed film, not quite a roadcrash, but obviously started with the noble intent of highlighting the real story behind why America keeps going to war (and it certainly isn’t anything to do with ‘enduring freedom’!).  At times the actors are unsure whether they should be playing it straight, or playing it for laughs (and as battles continue in Iraq and Afghanistan continue, unlikely to end any time soon, this makes the subject matter very difficult to raise a giggle from).

As they say, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions …”. The fact is that most Americans have absolutely no idea what is being done in their name, even today, and this movie extrapolates this to a logical conclusion of where this will all be heading.  It's a shame in some respects that this movie was trampled into obscurity when it was released in cinemas, but wider exposure might have triggered some of middle America to realise why they have such a bad reputation all around the world.

The only extra on the disc is a behind-the-scenes featurette, but it’s the movie that you are either going to love, be entirely perplexed by, or completely hate.  It’s best summarised by the strapline of the movie: “When it comes to war, Americans mean business”.

Available from 16 March 2009, it’s a ‘15’ certificate, with the DVD priced at £12.99, the Blu-Ray at £24.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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