Customer Reviews: War, Inc.
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on December 31, 2008
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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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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on November 16, 2008
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. Like a Big Mac, this film blends a lot of different ingredients together (perhaps too many), and like a Big Mac, you'll either be delighted or disgusted... which is why I gave it 3 stars, because you'll give it either 1 or 5.

You'll like this movie if:
You prefer watching Dr. Strangelove or Grosse Point Blank after a six pack or some mind-altering substance.

You'll dislike this movie if:
You want a straightforward laugh, are looking forward to Hilary Duff reprising her usual rolls, can't stand political satire, or are expecting a repeat of Grosse Point Blank.
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on May 10, 2014
Boy the reviews for this movie are really across the board. I liked it and don't really understand all the negative reviews here. I've seen some really bad movies in the past and this isn't one of them. The script was good as well as the acting. I found it very entertaining.
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on January 7, 2016
This is a sleeper of a movie. The political satire is hilarious and the acting is great. I've watched this a dozen times and love it every time. Full of one-liners and you hear a few new ones each time. I recommend it to everyone.
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on August 15, 2008
War Inc has an all star cast that includes John Cusack as Hauser a troubled assassin who has accepted a job of bumping off the figure head of a rival nation. To do this he must pose as a trade show coordinator hosting a Tamerlane Brand USA Expo in recently "liberated" country Turaqistan. On top of all this and with the help of his assistant (Joan Cusack) he has to juggle a headstrong reporter (Marisa Tomei) and the impending wedding of pop superstar Yonika BabyYea (Hilary Duff). War Inc is a film that will entertain a number of different audiences. On the surface the film plays much like a guy with girl troubles film but its the underlying theme that really makes it shine. Writers Mark Leyner, Jeremy Pikser and John Cusack weave a story that draws many parallels between what is happening on screen and in America today. One could easily view these larger than life characters as allegorical representations of the American Public, Capitalism, Big Business, Government, The Media...and so on. There is of course a good bit of the absurd, including but not limited to: fighting, licking and hotsauce drinking. Overall this film is ahead of its time for its candid statements about the geo political climate and its fun enough that you can still eat popcorn too. I hope you enjoy!
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on March 15, 2015
although cusack performs marvelously, the plot is ridiculous and uninventive, better left off your bucket list. maybe somebody with better directing and script might remake this into something that actually resembles a movie that people can relate too. Horrible waste of acting talent. Were the actors desperate for money to make this dog? I nominate this for 1oo percent raspberry jam as it doesn't rate for the actual award.
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on October 4, 2008
I've seen this when released and I would disagree with many of the reviewers who complain of the "disjointed" script. This movie is not confusing. It is extremely fast paced and can be watched several times to get all the jokes. The special effects are brutally effective and the underlying message very disturbing. The dark humor is right on, especially the bit where the Cusack's only friend is his Northstar roadside assistance system. The only complaint of the movie is how they fit Hillary Duff into the movie. It's a bit corny, but hey, it's Hollywood.
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on July 28, 2014
Some people hate this movie for its satirical take on War, Capitalism, and Middle East policy, but I happen to love it. You get Cusack playing a neurotic powder keg assassin opposite Marrisa Tomei and a well cast Hilary Duff along with Dan Akroyd (A little Grosse Pointe Blank flashback) and Sir Ben Kingsley. Oh, and yes Joan Cusack also plays a part (Basically a copy of her character in Grosse Pointe Blank). A war satire that doesn't take itself too seriously, but doesn't leave you thinking war is a joke. If you liked Grosse Pointe Blank/ Are a classic Cusack fan and don't get too heated thinking about the Middle East, I strongly recommend this movie.
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on September 29, 2013
Really I have to say that just about anything he does is good, but this one with the overall cast was really good. It is hard to believe that Hilary Duff allowed herself to sing that bad, but she did do a good job. If you want a good laugh at what America's War Department has almost become, then add this movie to your watch list. You won't regret watching it.
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