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War, Inc. (2008)

John Cusack , Hilary Duff , Joshua Seftel  |  R |  DVD
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (191 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Cusack, Hilary Duff, Marisa Tomei, Joan Cusack, Dan Aykroyd
  • Directors: Joshua Seftel
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: FIRST LOOK PICTURES
  • DVD Release Date: October 14, 2008
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (191 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0015XHQVC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,485 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "War, Inc." on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

A wobbly mix of violence and sentiment, War, Inc. takes up where Grosse Pointe Blank left off. A conscience-stricken killer in the previous film, producer/co-writer Cusack now plays an international assassin. In Joshua Seftel's political satire, corporations operate like governments. In the volatile nation of Turaqistan, Cusack's hot sauce-addicted Brand Hauser sets his sights on Omar Sharif--the oil baron, not the actor (it's never clear why this is meant to be funny). As a cover, Hauser passes as the producer for an economic trade show with fellow operative Marsha (Joan Cusack) acting as his assistant. Trained by Southern smoothie Walken (Ben Kingsley) in his CIA days (depicted though flashbacks), Hauser now takes orders from an oily CEO (Grosse Pointe co-star Dan Aykroyd). Offing Sharif, however, turns out to be harder than expected. Hauser's obstacles include left-wing journalist Natalie Hegalhuzen (Marisa Tomei) and foul-mouthed pop tart Yonica Babyyeah (Hilary Duff, erasing innocent images of Lizzy McGuire). Cusack and his crew come up with a few clever ideas, but too many crass gags blunt their thesis about military contractors run amok. Pitched somewhere between Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove and Mike Judge’s Idiocracy, War, Inc. registers as more of a miss than a hit. On the plus side, Cusack and Tomei have a snappy rapport; it's the more over-the-top performers who look out of place, especially Ms. Cusack and Kingsley, though the latter's deft turn as a boozy hit man in the overlooked You Kill Me almost makes up for this misfire. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

Recreating his role as a hitman, John Cusack gives a hilarious performance in War, Inc., a political satire set in Turaqistan, a Country occupied by an American private corporation run by a former U.S. Vice President (Dan Aykroyd). In an effort to monopolize the opportunities the war-torn nation offers, the corporation's CEO hires Hauser (Cusack) to kill a Middle Eastern oil minister. Now, struggling with his own growing demons, the assassin must pose as the corporation s Trade Show Producer in order to pull off this latest hit, while maintaining his cover by organizing the high-profile wedding of Yonica Babyyeah (Hilary Duff), an outrageous Central Asian pop star, and keeping a sexy left-wing reporter (Marisa Tomei) in check.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comedy from today's headlines June 20, 2008
Format:DVD
I almost skipped this one as a political annoyance until I saw the star power supporting it: Ben Kingsley, Marisa Tomei (a personal favorite), John Cusack, Joan Cusack, and more. That cast simply won't let a movie be bad. They couldn't if they tried.

Despite an apparent attempt to be ordinary entertainment, this one rises above all the usual categories. Do you want a cynical mockumentary of Haliburton-style war profiteering? Got it. Do you want pointed jabs at operations funded by Congress's "black budget?" Check. Do you want satirical assaults on simplistic sloganeering from every possible direction? It's there. Add in a babe like a pre-meltdown Britney but with hotter hotpants and a bucket of slapstick, and you're headed in the right direction. For example, a major character's name is "Uckmee Fay." Speakers of pig-Latin, please take note.

They set the tone from the very first scene. Chevy Chase delivers a "Mission Impossible" style of assignment to a high-class assassin, via video, while seated on American Standard's finest. Later, Joan Cusack shows up in the role that she has perfected - the prim, cheery, and murderous psychopath. There's a lot more, too. I laughed all through, even (maybe especially) when I knew that outrage would have been the "appropriate" response.

This one really grows on me the more I think about it. It doesn't whap you upside the head with humor, politics, or even its sappy moments. Instead, it tickles you with not-quite-too-much of social commentary, current events, goofy jokes, visual gags, and enough more to hold it all together. I liked it more a few hours later than when I walked out the door, and lots of movies have the opposite effect on me.

-- wiredweird, reviewing the theatrical release

PS: See it some time soon. The topical humor in this one might age badly unless the The Powers That Be keep providing background to preserve its freshness.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a strange & smart little movie December 31, 2008
Format:DVD
I loved it. Take John Cusack, add 1 part Brazil and pour over Starship Troopers, and you've got a hilariously bizaare commentary on geopolitics and the industrial war machine.

Its dark, and I mean, almost navy. Its only downfall is its heaviness, and sometimes it and the metaphors are jammed down your throat a little too often, but the ensemble cast is actually phenomenal, with Ben Kingsley and even Hillary Duff doing a great job (I can't believe I typed that).

You will laugh, if you have a dark sense of humor and like smart comedy. This movie is very timely, with the rise of the military farming out their work to private security (who are portrayed to be the craziest of all the crazies in the movie). Its small wonder it tanked in the box office, but if you have a proclivity towards movies like Dr. Strangelove, you'll find this to be one of the better movies you watched this year.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Most people will NOT enjoy this movie, but a select few will find it provocatively funny. War, Inc. is an almost surreal blend of Dr. Strangelove, Grosse Point Blank, Fargo, Apocalypse Now, and a cerebral National Lampoon movie (if such a contradiction in terms were possible... imagine Animal House Goes to Iraq). Don't bother if you're annoyed by convoluted subplots backfilled by indiscriminate flashback scenes, or looking for a good laugh in a light romantic comedy.

Despite an all-star cast (John Cusack, Marisa Tomei, Hilary Duff, Joan Cusack, Ben Kingsley and Dan Akroyd), War, Inc. will fall flat for most people. Set in a fictional third-world Islamic country, this satire of the American military-industrial complex is a blatant backdrop for further jabs at the Cheney/Halliburton/Blackwater junta. John Cusack's ability to write some of the cleverest dialogue in modern cinema allows his character to be interesting and sometimes brilliant, (especially when interacting with Marisa Tomei and Hilary Duff). Good acting and interesting dialogue will not be enough for the average viewer to enjoy this film. Offensively hilarious scenes (a chorus line of local war amputees on prosthetic legs) will either leave the viewer rolling on the floor or slack-jawed in revulsion.

There's something reminiscent in War, Inc. of the failed 1983 film, Deal of the Century, another satire of the military industrial complex with a great cast (Chevy Chase, Sigourney Weaver and Gregory Hines). Unlike the mediocre Deal of the Century, Cusacks' newest film is more like Fargo in the sense you'll either love or hate it; but unlike Fargo, I think the vast majority of viewers will fall on the wrong side of getting the punch line.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your time and money July 8, 2010
Format:DVD
My wife and I have loved almost everything John Cusack has ever done. On the strength of that alone we will watch his stuff when it comes out. But given the star power in this movie it was a must see.

The advertising made it sound as though Cusack was reprising his role from Grosse Pointe Blank as the introspective, edgy hitman looking to bring sense into his chaotic life and restore his karma to balance. Throughout the movie (which took three sittings to get all the way through) I kept waiting for some bit of Martin Blank to resurface. When that seemed to much to hope for I waited for the funny part to begin, which I was sure Cusack would deliver. When that failed to appear I began to wait for the part where the plot would move along to some engaging point that would keep me entertained through the remainder of the film. It never came.

I know Cusack has some very typical Hollywood left leanings, that's fine. I know it is popular in Hollywood to bash the military. Fine, that's your right to do so. But others have done it in ways that were entertaining and worthwhile. Kubrick's classic Full Metal Jacket certainly displayed much of what is wrong with the military and the absurdity of warfare in general, and at the same time was wildly entertaining. (Being a former Marine I can also say it is the closest thing to a real representation of boot camp in that era I have ever seen in film, as well.)

However, this movie was over the top in it's approach, so much so that the jokes and supposed "funny bits" were just vapid and sophmoric at best, and at worst, down right demeaning to both the actors, the audience and the real life people they are supposed to be lampooning.
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