A war is fought in large part by a company of hired mercenaries in the Middle East for a government that is unable to explain its motives completely. Sound familiar?
This isn’t the story of the American landscape today, but of John Cusack’s latest comedy, “War, Inc.”
The film follows Cusack as Brand Hauser, a hitman who is working for the former American vice president (Dan Aykroyd), who is also the head of a private corporation that creates war-for-profit scenarios to stay afloat. Aykroyd informs Cusack that he must journey to “Turaqistan,” a country that his corporation has occupied, in order to murder an influential politician.
Cusack’s cover is in the role of a weapons trade show producer with Joan Cusack returning opposite her brother as his personal assistant.
The film features a stellar cast. Marisa Tomei plays a journalist reporting against the tradeshow. Hillary Duff turns in one of the better roles of her young career as Yonica Babyyeah, a misunderstood Britney Spears-esque pop star. Ben Kingsley co-stars as Hauser’s mentor. Even talk-show host Montel Williams makes a cameo as Hauser’s only confidant, an artificially intelligent computer navigation system called Guidestar.
While the film has many over-the-top scenes including tanks rolling through the streets of Turaqistan with advertisements plastered all over them, it is intended to hammer home the point that war has become nothing more than a way for corporations to profit.
Be assured that with a cast including comedic giants such as Cusack and Aykroyd, there is a lot of humor. “War, Inc.” does not fail to produce a few laugh-out-loud moments.
There are many similarities to the current situation in Iraq, including Aykroyd’s character parodying Dick Cheney and Haliburton, but it is hard to make a serious comparison due to the amount of farce in the film. There is a scene in which many civilians are killed by the corporate soldiers that evokes memories of the Blackwater scandal of last year. But the scene, which should have been poignant, seems overdone in the context of the film.
The film’s light feel does no justice to the points it tries to convey. However, if viewers watch the comedy with an open mind and resist the urge to make the political connections, they should find it an enjoyable experience.