It's difficult to categorize Lord of War, the newest release from Gattaca director (and The Terminal writer) Andrew Niccol about an underground arms dealer's rise from rags to riches. Nicolas Cage plays Yuri, a Ukrainian munitions mogul chased by an Interpol agent (Ethan Hawke, who tries really hard but never actually does anything.) Yuri is the typical Cage anti-hero -- see Matchstick Men and Con Air -- who only looks virtuous when he's standing next to his gun-toting clients.

Running voiceover and an ambitious CGI sequence set the movie off and running at a pace that even a million rounds of ammunition can't keep up with. Scenes of action and tension are interrupted by spots of dry comedy, or rather high comedy, from Yuri's cocaine-addicted brother Vitaly (Jared Leto breaking some not-so-new ground.)

Overall, Lord of War was good, but like its (albeit superior) predecessor Fight Club, the critical value of the film is overshadowed by its own violence and vague morality. Still, there are reasons to see it: guns, a decent turn by Cage, solid direction, nudity, drug use, but beware: there is a cheaply-devised love story (with Bridget Moynahan.)


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