Directors Tony Gerber, (Full Battle Rattle) and Maxim Pozdorovkin, (Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer) know how to do an in-depth documentary and this delivers the story of a man languishing in a US prison for 25 year for intending to do something (I think something we are all guilty of).
A story of “never Piss Off” the powers that want to sell more weapons than you.
This documentary is about “The Merchant of Death” and it starts with his arrest in Bangkok in 2008, allegedly for conspiring to kill Americans, (in a “Sting” operation by American DEA undercover operatives).
But this DVD shows a Russian entrepreneur who had aspirations. After doing his service in the army as a linguist (a big fan of Esperanto), he decides that he wants to make money. A man from Tajikistan with a thrill to see the world and all that it can show, he heads for Africa’s Mozambique, shipping cargo about for the building of socialism and when the Communist Party fall in 1993, the Russian economy collapses and we see the massive queue’s associated with bread and commodities.
This starts Viktor to start buying from everywhere, TV’s, Boomboxes, foods and chocolates etc. Taking them back to the former Russian states makes him enough money to get a Cargo plane with which he then starts to transport “stuff” further afield.
Eventually by the time he is 25 he is a millionaire and by 30 he has an Empire shipping things from the UAE, South Africa, Bulgaria and every place that there was a business opportunity, (where people or others are willing to pay for airlifted goods)
So ok, he was operating from every country that was having civil wars, but he was supplying help as well as goods and by now he was peaking the interests of every investigative reporter who was trying to get the “dirty” on him.
With his wife Alla and his young daughter Liza they spend time all around the world as he now owns 50 planes, leasing them out to people by the hour, (clients have control of the cargo not the plane owner). The US starts to get very interested in his operation.
With known associates they go after Viktor in a entrapment scheme. It is now 2008 and Viktor thinks that after the 9/11 atrocities he is blamed for being in bed with Al-Qa’ida. Every country he has been operating from kicks him out, he must do all transactions himself (selling off planes etc.).
With everybody from Victor, his family, friends, bodyguards, journalists and those within the sting operation (the smug ones), this is an interesting delve into the very murky Grey area of arms dealing. Well told and with many of his own home videos, we are thrown into the personal world of a man that inspired the Nicholas Cage film God of War.
Every year enough bullets are made to kill every person on this planet TWICE.