Unless you are politically naive to the point of missing the current US military commitments, War Inc isn't a going to be meeting you ''dark political comedy' needs any time soon. It's a straight up, fairly formulaic screwball style comedy with some good set pieces. There are occasionally flashes of what a good satire could look like in the present climate, but unfortunately these scenes are short and fleeting. Like leading man John Cusack, who revisits his hit-man-with-issues role, the film is warm, likable, but lacking hard edges. The absence of any bite capable of drawing blood is a tricky and troubling situation for any war movie.
Brand Hauser (Cusack) is a deadly killer working for Tamerlane, the private corporation which runs America and is managing the worlds first entirely outsourced war in imaginary middle eastern country Turaqistan. Brand is given a mission to assassinate the hilariously named Omar Sherif (Lyubomir Neikov) the countries Oil Minister who is refusing Tamerlane a lucrative contract. He heads to the country's green zone - the Emerald City, undercover as the manager of Tamerlane's trade fare.
The film veers out of the gloss of the Emerald City only briefly, when Brand heads out to the war zone to rescue damsel in distress and left wing journo love interest Natalie Hegalhuzen (Marisa Tomei) who has been kidnapped by locals engaged in some kind of pay per view internet beheading racket. While her protests about being against the war fall on deaf ears, Tamerlane contacted soldiers outside die and plead to know what to do and who to take orders from. The rest of the film is pretty much as sanitized and as positive as the high kicking shiny prosthetics of the land mine victims chorus line. The too neat ending is far far too neat: and like a lot of the film, over-relies on passing off gross caricature as satire.
It's certainly not an uninteresting film, but it's a genuinely Hollywood-centric representation of war, and because of that, unintentionally chilling at times.