Well, John Cusack is in an other kooky flick that’s take place in the not-so-distant future in an imaginary country called Turaqistan, of which has recently been defeated by contracted soldiers in the name of corporate greed. Like a reality trade show, Turaqistan is going to become the star of an international show in which it is rebuilt with the help of Tammerlane sponsorship. The protagonist is sent to the country under the cover of a contractor-producer for the major rebuilding show. But really he’s an assassin sent to take out an Omar Sharif, the oil minister who attempts to nationalize certain pipe-lines that have yet to be constructed. This assassin, Hauser, is a bitter man, a lonely man, a man who found his wife murdered and his child kidnapped. Only the continuation of corrupt international corporate warfare will pay his bills.
Under his cover job, Hauser mostly chaperoned what was considered the Brittany Spears of Turaqistan. Yonika is a sexually obsessed singer who is future wife of the heir to the Turaqistan throne. Though Hauser is later exposed to her secret obsession with playing acoustic ballads. In English. This is somehow supposed to be more true and native to the woman. I didn’t really buy it. Wouldn’t she be speaking in her own tongue, using native instruments and styles? Maybe I’m just crazy.
There’s also a journalist who protested the war and naturally hates Hauser. For some random reason Hauser grows an infatuation with the woman. Her character only serves as a plot-device to get the three characters into an abandoned manor for an interview with the singer, sponsored by Houser. Here, they are attacked by the fiancé’s entourage who are now shunned by the government for attempting to digitize Yonika’s consummation on DVD. Really though, they were used as fodder by Hauser and Sharif so that the heir to the Turaqi throne remains blameless for such a scandal.
The entourage was a little ticked.
But most end up dead and the hands of Hauser.
There are a few more action scenes that involve the journalist’s kidnapping and eventual rescue. Hauser confronting his boss in an almost wacky chase scene along with the revelation of Hauser’s daughter. Turns out, she’s Yonika. What a twist! This was kind of ridiculous since there is almost no evidence in the beginning or middle scenes that give credit to Yonika’s American origin. Other than the fact that she doesn’t know who her father is. Whoopdi do. Seems a little extravagant for a kidnapper, who turns out to be Hauser’s old boss, to raise a random girl in a Mid-Eastern nation to blossom into sexy pop star and marry heir to the Turaqi throne, just to make things weird for Hauser.
But I digress.
This flick is somewhat witty in an all too frightful satire of American corporate imperialism, but it just doesn’t pull off the moral/satirical message that it attempts to convey. The acting and protagonist set-up is so inclined to an older flick that War, Inc. might as well have been called Gross Pointe Blank II: Revenge of Dan Ackroyd. The general plot development seemed so random at times that I wasn’t sure if I was watching a movie about victims of a Middle Eastern war or victims of the screenwriter’s strike. Then there were the pity scenes. That’s right, the scenes given to Joan Cusack because she happens to be related to John Cusack. Again, Joan plays an all too often pissy secretary and over-embellishes everything she says. Cut her off!
The overall satire was kind of ironic as well. Obviously it illustrates the growing concern of corporate greed on an international scale and man’s obsession with pop culture. But a lot of action scenes are initiated by an entourage of dim-witted Mid-Easterners that must be pulverized by the white anti-hero, Hauser. A little too great white hope symbolism, though I do appreciate the insanity of the American troops out in the battle-field listening to metal as they spray bullets into an already war-torn city. Overall the ratio between exposing the wrongs of American imperialism and fundamentalist terrorism is pretty even.
The end of the movie was definitely something left to be desired. It’s like they threw a bunch of annoyingly inconsistent characters into one big happy family after the whole daughter situation is discovered. I’m just glad that I saw a missile chase after their plane at the end. If only Joan Cusack’s character was on it.