🎥🍣 Movie Sushi — Lord of War

AdGridley
5 min readNov 3, 2020

Yuri Orlov witnesses a shooting in a restaurant in Little Odessa in 1982 and decides then to be an arms dealer.

Apparently, following wars, it’s often too expensive for America to bring its munitions back from distant warzones — they just leave them there. Yuri’s contacts allow him unique access to these huge piles of abandoned, yet fully-operational, machine guns. He sells them on loose by the kilo. So he can better navigate the world, he maintains several different passports and six ready-packed briefcases depending on who he is that day and where in the world he’s headed.

While trafficking weapons aboard a tanker at sea, Yuri learns that Interpol are fast approaching. Instead of trying to outrun them, his tanker — the Kristol — slows right down and the name and flag are quickly switched. Interpol boards the ship, but finds only rotten potatoes. Yuri pays for counter intelligence, and the call of a false spotting of the Kristol goes out over the radio forcing Interpol to leave.

Yuri has two rules for good gun-running. The first rule is to not get shot by your own merchandise and the second is to make sure you have a foolproof way of getting paid. When Yuri’s paid in uncut cocaine, he’s displeased — until he learns of its street value. Yuri’s younger brother Vitaly manages to take a kilo of cocaine away for himself and disappears. Yuri finds him 2,000 miles away and convinces him to go into rehab — after one last hit in the limo.

It’s 1989 and Yuri has a thing for top glamour model, Ava Fontaine, also from Brooklyn. He spends a small fortune pretending to be far wealthier than he actually is. After some monumental schmoozing, including dummy photoshoots, renting a private jet and an entire Caribbean hotel, they get married.

It’s Christmas 1991, and Yuri is elated to hear that the Cold War’s over — even ignoring his son Nicolai’s first steps. Yuri’s uncle General Dmitri from Ukraine has access to 40,000 spare AK-47s, lots of tanks and some helicopter gunships. When Interpol agent Jack Valentine shows up unannounced, Yuri must think fast and hastily gets his uncle’s mechanic to disarm the attack helicopters. This makes them “rescue helicopters” and so entirely above board. General Dmitri declares himself the luckiest man alive, triggers a car bomb and dies. Yuri’s main gun-running competitor Simeon’s men had been seen near the car moments earlier.

Now increasingly wealthy, Yuri is quizzed about his profession by wild child younger brother Vitaly. Yuri can easily justify his blood-soaked trade. He compares his business to that of being a car or tobacco salesmen. Both their products kill more people than guns — but at least guns have safety switches, Yuri says. He knows that his wife’s new 18-carat diamond earrings are to dissuade her from asking him too many questions.

By the year 2000, Yuri owns a fleet of planes. Yuri’s flying through Sierra Leone trafficking weapons, but Interpol has a fighter jet flying right alongside. After one warning, Yuri makes a an emergency phone call that falls on deaf ears. The jet then shoots at Yuri’s plane. Yuri’s pilot must rock his wings if he intends to comply and land at Kabala airport. The wings rock, but the pilot instead crash lands onto a straight, dusty road directly beneath. One pothole would cause the large plane full of weapons to explode.

Once landed, the crew scatters. Ingeniously, Yuri empties the plane entirely of weapons by getting the impoverished locals to take what they want for free. Yuri is soon left with an empty plane and so, legally, is squeaky clean. Valentine, having had to land some distance away in Kabala airport, then drive, finds Yuri alone. Yuri’s detained for 24hrs without charge, the maximum punishment legally available.

Later on, Valentine visits Ava to explain Yuri’s true profession. When Yuri returns home, she’s in the dark naked, sickened by all that her husband’s blood money has bought. She feels she’s failed at a lot of things, but she won’t fail at being a human. Yuri takes her concerns onboard and goes straight for a few months — until he bumps into President Baptiste — Lord of War — from Liberia and his son, in town for UN peace talks. Presented with a massive blood diamond, and then some fearsome threats, Yuri returns to his old ways.

Yuri needs Vitaly on a business trip to Liberia. The younger brother watches an unarmed woman and her child slaughtered by swordsmen and is understandably shaken. He grabs two grenades and uses one to destroy one of the two trucks full of weapons. A gunman riddles him with bullets, bringing him down and stopping him from destroying the other one. Now dying, Vitaly pulls the pin on the second grenade anyway. Yuri stands over him and expertly replaces the pin — disarming the grenade. Yuri is shaken, but continues with the deal. Now with only half the amount of weapons available to buy, Yuri’s business partner scrapes away with his sword half of the pile of diamonds on the table.

Yuri’s intercepted returning his brother’s body to the US by the ATF in New York. Valentine has Yuri in custody but Yuri’s cool, calm and collected. Yuri knows, on one level, that he’s banged to rights — but he has faith in his connections. Yuri tells Valentine he won’t spend a moment inside a courtroom.

Yuri even predicts what will happen. Soon, there’ll be a knock at the door. Someone outranking Valentine will compliment him on a job well done and he’ll get a commendation and a promotion, but Yuri will be released. This will happen no matter how much Valentine protests. All this protection has come at a price. Yuri knows his family have left him, his parents despise him and his brother’s dead. Valentine says he would say go to hell, but Yuri’s probably already there. Still, most people are happy to just get out of jail — Yuri is paid to leave.

The AK-47 is the world’s most popular assault rifle. It was designed in 1947 by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It’s an elegantly simple, nine pound amalgamation of forged steel and plywood. It doesn’t break, jam or overheat. It will shoot whether it’s covered in mud or filled with sand. Compared with nuclear weapons that just sit in stockpiles as a threat, the AK-47 is the real Weapon of Mass Destruction.

This film is based on actual events.

Starring Nicolas Cage. Ethan Hawke. Jared Leto. Rated 15. Dir Andrew Niccol. Released in the UK 2005. Runtime 2hrs 2mins

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Ad teaches & gives speeches on his MH struggle + recovery at institutions right across the world. (Movie Sushi pieces contain spoilers)