NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by Chris who calls it: "...a very clever and entertaining thriller. On one level, it works as a sharp political and social satire and on the other, it work as a character-based study film."
The film opens somewhere in Canada during a snowstorm, a man named Brand Hauser (John Cusack) walks into a bar and sits by a group of three noisy businessmen, who are drinking and laughing at the bar. Hauser sits down, asks the bartender for a shot glass and proceeds to fill it with hot sauce...which he downs like a shot. Once finished, he hesitates for a few seconds before he pulls a gun and proceeds to execute the three men, one after the other without pause. No one else in the bar even reacts in the slightest as Brand gets up and proceeds to snap pictures of the bodies confirming the hit...and then walking out the door as casually as you please. He tosses away the camera and gun in a flaming trash can outside and walks into the night. The title card flashes.
Hauser flies around on his jet piloted by an on board navigation system GuideStar (similar to OnStar) who Brand refers to as Jerry, who is also capable of carrying on therapy sessions with Hauser, who is currently in a deep funk over what his chosen profession is doing to his mental state, claiming he "feels like a refugee from 'The Island of Dr. Moreau" and "some twisted character from a saline novel", but adds that "the hot sauce helps" with that (more about the hot sauce later, as it is a recurring plot device). He is interrupted by another call and goes to the back of the plane to retrieve it.
He is contacted by the Vice President (Dan Aykroyd) via bathroom cam (on the toilet). He say that this is a direct order and that the President has inevitably cleared him of any wrongdoings. He then gives him his assignment: Turaqistan, where he is to assassinate the prime minister Omar Sharif. His cover is that he is a show organizer for a grand production being put on in the newly "liberated" country of the wedding of a famous pop star comments that this is the first war to be outsourced 100% by private enterprise. He takes the assignment.
Hauser lands in Turaqistan, where he is greeted by Tamerlane soldiers and gets into a military vehicle. As they head to their destination, billboard can be seen along with military tanks with advertising bumper stickers. He is taken to the headquarters there, and is greeted by Marsha Dillon who shows him around. Hauser catches the eye of a reporter named Natalie Negalhuzen (Marisa Tomei), who Dillon despises and has written a condemning article attacking the embassy of private enterprise. Hauser asks who the lucky couple is getting married, and Marsha says it's pop star Yonica Babyyeah: she is described as a Middle Eastern Britney Spears corrupted by Western-culture influences, who is getting married to Sharif's son.
Hauser is shown the way to his office, and quickly gets settled in before Natalie Hegalhuzen talks her way into Hauser's office. Hauser quickly sends Natalie in as his other clients finish, each taking with them a gift registry shopping bag. Natalie proceeds to grill Hauser about what she sees as a company man doing celebrating the immorality of his company's actions. While the meeting goes on, several attacks outside, which Brand explains that technically "it was a bombing" Before she leaves, Hauser tries to charm her into getting a drink with him. She reluctantly agrees as she exits the door as Marsha informs Hauser by phone that Yonica is on her way.
Hauser and Dillon wait outside the building as a military vehicle "limo" pulls up carrying Yonica (Hilary Duff), her fiance Ooq-Mi-Fay Taqnufmini (Sergej Trifunovic), and her bodyguards: one of whom is named Mr. Federline.
As Natalie proceeds to take the Interactive Journalist Experience, a ride where the journalists feel like they're in a war zone, Hauser enters Popeye's chicken food store and demands to speak to the Viceroy. The owner fakes an incident, and Hauser is granted access to enter a freezer which doubles for an elevator shaft. Once on the bottom floor, Hauser and a group of guard proceed to an empty room where an unseen Viceroy speaks from a large television, giving Hauser instructions to kill Omar Sharif within a week. He takes the suitcase full of money as well.
That night, Natalie and Hauser go out for a drink, where Hauser tries to get Natalie to talk about life outside of her job as a journalist. She leaves after making small talk, and Hauser grants her access to the dress rehearsal. Natalie is flabbergasted at the dress rehearsal, which is composed entirely of a chorus line of dancing girls with amputee legs and Yonica singing one of her songs entitled (ironically) "I Wanna Blow You Up" Her dress rehearsal is essentially an excuse to hit on Hauser, who has the bizarre reaction of becoming violently ill and vomiting into his jacket. Before vomiting, he once again downs a shot of hot sauce. Yonica sees this as offensive in her culture.
Hauser swings by Natalie's apartment, convincing her to grab coffee with him. While at the coffee shop, he also reveals the bit about the hot sauce - he carries a case with him containing some of the hottest sauces on the planet. He drinks them in shot glasses because the heat burns makes him feel "real" and burns away his worst thoughts. He states that no matter how hot they are, he never sheds a tear (it's worth noting that although he says that, the first of his flashbacks in which he lost his wife came from shooting the sauce...and he did cry at the very start of the film). The two end up falling for each other quite hard.
Later that afternoon, Hauser is about to kill Sharif after seeing him outside one of the target zones, setting his remote-controlled Ak/sniper weapon on him. Just as he is about to fire, Monica calls to inform him trouble is on the way. An attack sends Sharif and his associates running for cover, and Hauser tries to escape. He is stopped by a soldier, who asks if he can have a ticket to the big gala wedding. Hauser obliges and hands him the ticket, who celebrates with cheer (by firing his rifle in the air).
At night, Brand Hauser sits in his office and drinks hot sauce. We get a quick flashback before Hauser snaps back to reality as a door opens. Hauser draws his gun, but slowly puts his away when he discovers it is Yonica. Yonica thinks Hauser offended her by vomiting, while Hauser assures her it wasn't the case. Pleased by this, Yonica climbs on the desk and proceeds to flirt with him. Hauser explains that this may be a poor lifestyle choice for a woman and what her parents think. She explains that her father, who she hasn't seen, sends her money to fund her singing career and her mother is dead. She moves in and kisses Hauser, but Hauser is repulsed and quickly moves away. Yonica finds this gesture offensive and as Hauser tries to apologize, she storms out the door. Brand calls Monica and tells him he's going to the bar. He drinks a shot of hot sauce and we get our first long flashback: Brand Hauser works as an assassin for CIA in Langley, Virginia and is trying to convince his boss Walken (Ben Kingsley) that this isn’t the life for him anymore and that he wants out, but Walken doesn’t want to hear it and assigns him one more assignment.
That night at the only bar in the safe zone, Hauser finally sees Omar Sharif and starts conversing with him, while he secretly puts poison in his drink. As they are talking, Hauser sees Natalie talking with Yonica's fiancée, who demands a drink and pulls a gun out (and ultimately shoots himself in the butt as he tries to put this gun away.) Hauser talk to Natalie, who introduces her to Omar Sharif. Sharif, intrigued by her presence, offers to dance with her. Yonica then shows up with her entourage. Seeing Hauser and still feeling sore about being rebuffed, she proceeds to dance to one of her songs playing on the sound system...and then sensually drops a live scorpion into her tight pants. She gets sexually aroused, and asks her fiancée to take it out of her pants (which arouses her even more) This gets the attention of every man in the place...but makes Hauser even more ill at the sight of it.
Gunfire breaks up the bar and everyone ends up running out - Hauser takes Natalie out for her protection, and they end up spending some time together. Instead of taking her to the hotel, he drives her to a hilltop, where they proceed to talk. He reveals more of his true nature and she seems to be falling for him. He drops her off at the hotel, but passionately kisses him before stepping out. She invites him the next day to a date at the Interactive Journalism Experience, where he asks for for a favor to investigate the video director’s place. It is revealed that the directors’ plan to market and distribute a porn video of the couple’s wedding night. The story leaks to all major news outlets, which makes Yonica extremely upset at being taken advantage of. Omar and his son Ooq Mi-Fay hold a meeting with Brand to determine the consequences. They agree to a public apology. Yonica storms out of the office, still angry over Ooq’s betrayal.
I think around this tim we get a second (even longer) flashback, which occurs after he takes another shot of hot sauce. This flashback occurs in the outskirts of Romana, after a big carnival has been blown to bits. Brand confronts Walken and says that he wants out: he took the job as an assassin to kill the bad people. Walken agrees with him, and offers Hauser a hug. Hauser hugs him, but pulls away as he tries to bite his ear off. Walken pulls out his gun, and kindly as Hauser for his weapon, and with the two guns, backs Hauser into a garbage truck. After a few seconds of talking, Hauser elbows him and dives into the garbage truck. Walken fires, and thinks he’s killed Hauser. As Walken walks away, Hauser pops up and wraps a garbage back around Walken’s neck. The bag isn’t strong enough, and snaps. Walken gets into the truck and the two get into a scuffle before Hauser punches him, collects the guns, and gets out the truck and pulls the lever, crushing Walken. He then shoots him until the clips are out.
The next morning, Monica gets a call from Yonica and sends Brand to pick her up some food and meet her at her apartment. He speaks to Jerry while he is driving, stating that he can’t concentrate while he has the two women on his mind. Jerry makes some wisecrack remark as Brand grabs some food and heads over to her hotel. To his amazement, he opens the door and finds Yonica singing a cappella on her guitar. He compliments her on her signing abilities, noting she has great talent. Yonica confides in him that she thinks he’s from another world, which Hauser states she is not. Omar walks in, drunk with a bottle in his hand, assumes the worst. He pulls out a gun and is ready to shoot him, but passes out. Brand then arranges Natalie to interview Yonica, which doesn’t go according to plan at first, sine Yonica thinks Natalie hates her. She reluctantly agrees, and another attack occurs on the way over, making Yonica nervous.
Natalie and Brand decide to conduct the interview at one of Turaqistan’s oldest monuments (which almost resembles that of a Roman Colosseum). Yonica is uncomfortable, and says she wants to do an interview if she can pick the spot: she decides on an abandoned house on the top of a nearby hill. Brand and Natalie agree, and they all enter the house. Yonica starts admiring the rooms of the house, acting like a twelve-year old girl surprised when someone moves to a new house. She agrees to an interview. Before the interview, Brand and Natalie work on preparing the food while the crew set up. While they start to eat, Brand pulls out the hot sauce and fully reveals why he does what he does without giving too much away: he once was married to a wife, and have recently given birth of a beautiful daughter. Ha, however, had made many enemies. One night, someone found where he lived and shot his wife, and kidnapped his daughter. Yonica asks what the daughter’s name was, and he replies Kara.
While the three are chatting, Yonica’s bodyguards storm in and points guns at the crewman as one pulls a knife toward his throat. A few seconds later, they shout out at Brand to come help them out. Brand checks on the situation and finds two guns pointed at him, motioning to go with him to the main hall. Once there, Brand gets assaulted. As soon as one of them extends his middle finger towards him, Brand bites it off and fights the men. Brad grabs the leader by the nostrils and fights him. Brand gets knocked to the ground, but manages to overpower his attacker by taking a hypodermic needle out of his pocket puts it in his head, killing him instantly. He falls down. Brand looks up and sees that Natalie and Yonica were watching it. They both leave without saying a word to Brand.
Brand goes back to his car and Monica calls on his phone with a message from the Viceroy, which reads “Why the fuck is Omar still alive? You have 18 hours to kill him or we will do it.” She then grills Brand over the phone before he hangs up. The next we see is the girls getting home in a taxi driven by a hooded individual. Yonica wants Natalie to be one of her bridesmaids. She accepts as they drop her off at the hotel. She gets out of the cab and goes to her room while the car takes Natalie to her supposed destination, although she has no idea she is about to be kidnapped.
As Brand and Monica do a soundcheck for the gala event, she informs him that Anderson Cooper won’t make the event. Brand asks what room he was staying in. Monica tells him it was room 1101. Brand sends an e-mail to Omar via lap top to come by room 1101 alone. A soldier comes in with a package for Monica, who gives it to Brand. Brand opens the package and it as one of those smart disks. He plugs it in to his lap top: Natalie has been captured by terrorists, and unless the demands are not met, they will execute her. Despite Monica’s objections, Brand goes to Fallaf in an attempt to rescue her.
As Brand drives, he phones Jerry who gives in directions to Fallaf. Once there he sees three boys playing soccer. He asks them for some information. The boys demand candy in exchange for information, but Jerry doesn’t have any candy. One of the boys knows where they took his friend, and he offers them money in exchange for directions. The boy shows him where she is.
It is revealed that the video director and his crew are the terrorists, and Monica pleads for her life. Once the time comes to execute her, they set her up in place because they argue on what camera angles to shoot as they execute her. The phone call rings and it is the manager who discusses distribution deals. As soon as they’re prepared to go through with it, Brand busts in and gets her out of there, and they return to find Brand’s military vehicle has been set on fire by the boys who said they should’ve given him the candy. (With The GuideStar also on fire, Jerry berates him as well) Gunfire soon erupts as an air and ground attack wipes out the terrorists/film crew hideout. Brand however gets another vehicle as they make their way to Tamerlane base. Brand lets Natalie off, saying there’s one more thing to take care off. Natalie runs in and in a mad dash gets her hair and makeup done.
Brand waits in room 1101 as Omar Sharif and his bodyguards arrive outside. He pours a glass of hot sauce and downs it as Omar assures his men he’ll be all right. He goes inside and notices some flowers on the piano. Thinking it is from Natalie, he rushes into the bedroom and Brand grabs him by the shirt and puts him on the bed, gun pointed at Omar’s face. Brand warns him that he is targeted for assassination and that he is assigned to finish the job. He tells him he won’t go it, but informs him that “Somebody else will”. Omar opens up to him about love, which can go crazy things. He blurts out during the conversation that love “does get us into tricky situations... sometimes the back of a garbage truck.” Brand now knows and sends Sharif out the room to attend his son’s wedding.
The wedding is all set, with no sign of Brand Hauser. Brand goes to see the viceroy by going down the freezer/elevator and into the empty room. He takes the little suitcase of money and throws it at the screen,, shattering it. The Viceroy turns out to be Walken, alive and wheelchair-bound. Everybody in the gala room is in shock about the Viceroy’s revelation, as the camera turns off after Hauser reveals it was Walken who killed his wife. Walken then reveals that Yonica is actually the daughter Hauser never knew he had (which explains his nausea to her attempts at seduction). Hauser is nearly broken at this point, but in a rage he attacks Walken with pepper-spray in his eyes. He ends up “riding” Walken on his wheelchair after guards are called to kill Hauser. Hauser arrives to stop the wedding, where he reveals to Yonica that she is his daughter, and that he never stopped loving her. Ooq-Fi tries to interfere, but Natalie slams in down to the ground and takes his gun. Yonica takes an AK-47 and fires as the crowd quickly scatters away. Brand gets her to stop as the three make their way towards the exit.
Walken and his guards retreat to their headquarters in Popeye’s, and intercuts with him talking about a heat-seeking missile that will make its way towards Turaqistan and obliterate Sharif in the process. The missile, however, takes a turn and blows up the store, killing Walken and the guards in the process. The person who released the missile replies that “Shit happens”.
Hauser uses his company credentials to slip through the check points as Yonica drives. Tamerlane soldiers buy the disguise, in which Brand Hauser is Yonica’s husband and that they’re on their honeymoon. They then board a plane and take off into the sunset, a missile following them.
The end has the Vice President addressing the nation by television that Turaqistan has been attacked by its neighboring country Eugenistan and that the world will not stand for this. As he is talking, the camera zooms in and reveals that the VP’s shirt has been digitized by other broadcasts.
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