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Funded by grasping capitalist Cornelius Vanderbilt (Boyle), 19th century American adventurer Walker (Harris) and his band of mercenaries invade Nicaragua and join forces with the liberals against the country's corrupt ruler. Despite his disastrous military campaigns and political naïveté Walker eventually falls into the president's chair (a historical figure, he was self-proclaimed president of Nicaragua from 1855-57). He even makes the cover of Newsweek, because to drive home the obvious contemporary parallels, Cox litters the screen with historical anomalies: Zippo lighters, a Mercedes limo, journos with tape recorders. He presents this fascinating episode, which would have had far more potential as a straight political allegory, as a shambolic, Pythonesque satire. Only Ed Harris seems to have grasped this point: his controlled and credible performance is curiously at odds with a chaotic plot that shoots off in all directions without once finding its target.

Release details

Duration: 94 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Alex Cox
Screenwriter: Rudy Wurlitzer
Cast: Ed Harris
Richard Masur
René Auberjonois
Keith Szarabajka
Sy Richardson
Xander Berkeley
John Diehl
Peter Boyle
Marlee Matlin
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