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War, Inc.


It's a presidential election year, so naturally, political and societal satires are everywhere. Most examples, like the Saturday Night Live portrayal of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, are overt parodies, while others are far more subtle. John Cusack's latest project is somewhere on the SNL side. Without directly imitating individuals, the film outright mocks corporate America's love affair with making war.

A contract killer (Cusack, Gross Pointe Blank) is hired by a former U.S. vice president to assassinate a leader during a social function in fictional Turaqistan. But when he arrives, his past and a budding relationship with a tough investigative reporter (Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny) toy with his ability to actually go through with the killing.

A pretty cool cast is assembled here. Cusack's sister Joan (Runaway Bride), Dan Akroyd (Ghostbusters), Ben Kingsley (Gandhi) and Hilary Duff all co-star and provide extremely colorful characters.

Though the satirical subject matter seems important, the execution makes it feel more like a joke than perhaps originally intended. As such, the first two-thirds of the film bypasses "fun" and drifts more toward obnoxious. However, the remaining portion becomes far more interesting as the plot swirls and the characters are thrown into serious hijinks.

Unfortunately, War, Inc. doesn't necessarily succeed on any of its fronts. It's too in-your-face for successful satire and isn't funny enough to be a classic comedy. Still, it's got enough interesting bits and is a nod to the Cusack fare of old, both of which it keep it watchable.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.