Human Cargo

  • 1999
  • 1 HR 48 MIN
  • NR
  • Adventure, Documentary

When a Saudi Arabian investment broker named Suliman (Sasson Gabai) expresses interest in his pre-fab construction franchise, John McDonald (Treat Williams) can't believe his good fortune. Despite his partner's misgivings, McDonald eagerly lays out an $800,000 advance to land a deal that stands to make him millions. Woefully unprepared for Suliman's Middle...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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When a Saudi Arabian investment broker named Suliman (Sasson Gabai) expresses interest in his pre-fab construction franchise, John McDonald (Treat Williams) can't believe his good fortune. Despite his partner's misgivings, McDonald eagerly lays out an $800,000 advance to land a deal that stands to make him millions. Woefully unprepared for Suliman's Middle Eastern business ethic, McDonald encounters delays, costly sloppiness, and wily deception from Suliman on behalf of Sheik Fazza (Zeev Revach). Although fellow American Denis McNatter (Stephen Lang) warns McDonald that uncooperative Yanks have been known to vanish, McDonald arrogantly and publicly airs his gripes. Tossed in jail on trumped-up charges, McDonald wins release and later gains a pyrrhic victory by suing Fazza in court. Unfortunately, the sheik holds McDonald to their deal and hangs on to the American's passport as insurance. Finally comprehending that he can't outmaneuver the wily sheik, McDonald decides on a dangerous alternative: to ship himself out of the country as... cargo! Sometimes, the right moment for a movie comes and goes before it's even made. Although set in the relatively recent past — 1972, to be precise — this one's jingoistic attitudes are so dated, it could've just as easily been set during America's isolationist phase following World War I. While director Simon Wincer does manage to inject some suspense into McDonald's unusual flight to freedom, your overall enjoyment of this mundane thriller will depend largely on your hatred of Arabs and appreciation of ethnic stereotypes.

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