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The Future of Corporate Combat

image by Veronica V. Jones

Investing in War, Inc.

John Cusack as the battle weary hit man.
Marisa Tomei as the determined reporter.
Hilary Duff as the spoiled pop star.

In yet another inexplicable media miss, we totally blanked on the extremely-limited premiere and subsequent DVD release of John Cusack’s darkly comic War, Inc., a near-future fable of an outsourced American war — and recovery — in the ever-so-slightly fictional country of Turaqistan. Last night we overcame our oversight and beheld this pre-apocalyptic comedic tragedy in all of it’s subversive glory.

A world-weary, overstressed hitman — a familiar role for Mr. Cusack — visits a war-torn country, and experiences an existential crisis while on the job for a multinational band of ex-governmental mercenaries. In this midst of his personal turmoil, Hauser pursues an attractive left-leaning journalist played by Marisa Tomei, while maintaining his cover by wrangling a Central Asian pop princess expertly realized by Hillary Duff.

Touches such as full-motion combat simulators for the press, banner advertising on combat vehicles, and a constantly shifting, yet ever present video image of the CEO of the corporate behemoth Tamerlane keep this film firmly planted in a familiar, but comically dangerous exaggeration of our current world. Not everyone will want to visit this corporation-dominated dystopia, but others will feel that we’re already inexorably on the path to War, Inc.

Whatever your beliefs or ideals, this logical escalation of, and spiritual successor to Grosse Pointe Blank predicts a near-future hyper capitalism that none of us can deny is at least possible — if not inevitable. The ultimate question that we are never quite asked, however, is undeniable: what are we going to do about it?

Written by in November of 2008. Last edited September 2014.

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