Monday, January 25, 2010

“War, Inc.” – I’m betting you’ve never seen this one.

Judging by your initial reaction to the title of this movie, you probably think I’m just making this one up. The best I can do to assuage your concerns is to take you back to a film called “Toys.” Do you remember that one? No? Umm…well…I guess you’ll just have to trust me – on both of them.

My wife asked the question you’re probably wondering right now. How did I find this film? I have Netflix to thank for this one. It gave me a list of “similar” movies to films that I have already borrowed. I’m not really sure how this one relates to “Sex and the City,” but that’s their problem.

“War, Inc.” is easily one of the strangest movies I’ve ever seen. It’s definitely the strangest movie you’ve never seen. As a matter of fact, we can probably count the number of people who have seen it on the four of our hands. I am not making this up. After a little research, I discovered that “War, Inc.” was only released in thirty theaters across the entire United States. Total gross earnings: $580,862. I also discovered that many people, including Joan Cusack, refer to this movie as a “Grosse Point Blank 2.” While it did have the same feel and a very similar sequence of events, this was in no way a sequel to “Grosse Point Blank.” It would be like saying “The Postman” was a sequel to “Waterworld.”

The main theme of “War, Inc.” is a satirical look at recent wars, the latest U.S. engagements (Afghanistan and Iraq) being the primary focus. What a lot of critics seemed to miss was that it wasn’t poking at the U.S. military, but organizations like Blackwater. If I just lost you, Blackwater is a private “security” firm with professionally trained mercenaries. Think this season of “24.” …You just got back on board, didn’t you?

Anyway, the film creates a ludicrous version of one of those companies that is contracted by the U.S. to fight the war in place of the traditional military. The strange thing is that this isn’t even the plot of the movie, but instead is the stage for the actual plot. John Cusack is an assassin employed by the company and his mission is to assassinate the leader of Turaqistan. In order to get said leader out in the open, the company stages a wedding between a guy named Ooq-Yu-Fay (get it? say it out loud) and a slutty pop-star named Babyyeah.

(Did you get it yet? No? Think Pig-Latin and look at that first name again. Now, stop laughing because it’s not that funny.)

Unfortunately, that’s the funniest thing about this movie, which makes you wonder why it’s classified as a “dark comedy.” This movie is decidedly not funny, unless your idea of hilarity is a military tank with commercial advertisements plastered to it. The film is packed with these kinds of things that only serve to make you more uncomfortable (My film student wife says that’s probably the point). These things are cerebrally ironic – and undeniably commentaries on…something – but not really “funny.” Things like taking shots of hot sauce, random shootings, Dan Aykroyd delivering a mission briefing while taking a dump, and Ben Kingsley as an evil quadriplegic. Effing hilarious, right?

The bottom line is that there is a reason you have never heard of this movie. It’s a completely bizarre and uncomfortable movie at best and possibly one of the worst movies ever made at, well, worst. The good news is that you have probably already forgotten the title and won’t even remember what I talked about here.

Rating: This one’s worth about fifty cents, just for the sheer morbid curiosity of convincing yourself that it was an actual film.

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