Dubby’s dvdiscussion: Corporatisation of war


There has always been satire on war even on the most grisly aspects, and War Inc, like the 60’s hit Catch 22, attempts to show us just how stupid war can be with the difference that Catch 22 was way above War Inc.

What is interesting about War Inc is that in a befuddled plot line what comes through is that no more are wars being waged by countries; they are being fought by cooperations run by Dick Cheney lookalikes, who urge co-operate staff to fight both sides of the war. So in one horrible scene, a line up of amputees who lost their limbs thanks to Dick Cheney/Dan Aykroyd are given state of the art prosthetics gifted to them by Cheney/Aykroyd to perform a dance.

At the centre is hit-man Bran Hauser (John Cusack), who kills some Germans in a bar at the opening of the movie and chases the homicide down with a shot glass of Tabasco.

Says critic Jim Slotek, “And I’m not sure how you characterise the scene where Hilary Duff — as foul-mouthed Central European pop star Yonica Babyyeah — drops a scorpion down her pants, except that it makes you wonder if Disney still has a morals clause for its starlets. Duff isn’t terrible in this role — in fact she’s almost unrecognisable — though her accent is on and off.

But then they have to go and add an unlikely romance, and completely ignore the element of radical Islam, and a Hollywoodish cloud of lugubriousness starts to envelope the movie. Add to that director Joshua Seftel’s less-than-adept eye and sense of filmic comic timing, and you have a satire that pulls punches it should rightly have landed.

Written by Cusack and trenchant novelist/magazine-writer Mark Leyner, War Inc spends most of its time with its hero wrestling with his conscience. Set up as a businessman with an agenda to kill the country’s political leader, Hauser is an operative gone soft — to the point where he procrastinates on the “hit,” and falls in love and gives classified access to an almost caustically unfriendly reporter (Marisa Tomei).

In the middle of the whole mess is an upcoming wedding between the pop star and the worthless, substance-abusing heir to the throne that somehow has enough geo-political import as to be televised live.

And oh yeah, there’s a big surprise ending that isn’t.

Some decent actors are along for the ride — including Ben Kingsley as an utterly evil corporate man behind the curtain, and Cusack’s sister Joan somehow managing to out-overact everybody else in this unsubtle effort as Hauser’s harridan assistant.

The ongoing corporatisation of war is definitely ripe for satire of Catch-22 calibre. One hopes others will rise to the bait and hit the target dead centre.”

In summing up the story, Robert Bell says, “A private corporation run by former US vice president (Dan Aykroyd) sends hitman Brand Hauser (John Cusack) over to the recently occupied Turaqistan to assassinate Omar Sharif (Lyobomir Neikov), a middle-east oil minister, in order to maximise commercial profit from the struggling nation. Hauser and his eccentric partner Marsha (Joan Cusack) have been sent under the guise of organising the high profile wedding of pop princess Yonica Babyyeah (Hilary Duff) to Ooq-Mi-Fay (Sergej Trifunovic). Finding himself in a moral crisis that is only exacerbated by the liberal-minded rants of plucky reporter Natalie (Marisa Tomei), Brand invests more of his energies in protecting Yonica from her own destiny as a product of North American packaging and greed.”