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Yuri Orlov wanted a way to make money fast, he found out that the way to do it is to sell arms. The story of his life in the arms trade and the consequences of the profession he has chosen, all while trying to remain ahead of the authorities.
Kono, the name which the ship is changed to, is a diamond-rich area of Sierra Leone as well as the name of a tribe in Sierra Leone.
two hitmen in a local restaurant, he decides he wants to be self-employed, and becomes a gunrunner. Yuri is nervous about his first deal, he sells an Uzi to some unknown thugs and makes a killing. Soon he convinces his younger brother, Vitaly (Jared Leto), to join him and the two form an illegal arms business. In 1982 the Lebanon war breaks out and Yuri devises a scheme to sell arms to all factions involved.
As Yuri's business expands, so does his problems. Enter Jack Valentine (Ethan Hawke), an Interpol agent who abides by the letter of the law and refuses any kind of bribe. While Yuri is hauling a big shipment of weapons across the sea aboard a freighter named the "Kristol," Valentine and his interpol team come sniffing around on a speedboat to do a search. Yuri orders his crew to paint the over the name and change it to the "Kono" while Vitaly finds a different flag to put up. Valentine is fooled into thinking the Kono is hauling potatoes, and his team quickly leave after an Interpol intelligence agent on Yuri's payroll calls in a false sighting of the "Kristol."
instead of cash. The deal goes sour when Yuri tries to explain that he deals in arms, not drugs, and is shot during the argument. Yuri, knowing that he might not make it out alive, gives in and takes the cocaine as payment. Vitaly takes one kilogram to get high, and slowly but surely, becomes an addict. Yuri forces Vitaly into an up-scale drug rehabilitation center, and begins to he run their arms business alone. During this time, Yuri woos a famous fashion model named Ava Fontaine (Bridget Moynahan) after hatching an elaborate ruse that lures Ava to a false photo shoot. They eventually marry and have a child named Nikolai (Nicky). Ava knows Yuri can't be legit in his business, but never questions him about it.
Andre Baptiste Sr.
In 1991, on Christmas Day, Mikhail Gorbachev's gives his resignation on live television. Yuri couldn't be more ecstatic, and rushes over to the Ukraine after the Soviet Union breaks down. Yuri proceeds to illegally buy tanks and other weapons from Ukraine's new military, with help of his Uncle who is a high ranking officer. With a new arsenal of weapons to sell, Yuri forms an alliance with
Baptiste Jr.'s Golden AK
Andre Baptiste Sr. (Eamonn Walker), the merciless dictator of Liberia who has a penchant for using child soldiers. The alliance proves to be extremely profitable, and the two bond after killing Simeon Weisz (Ian Holm), a rival of Yuri's in the arms trade.
Meanwhile, Valentine's fustration of not being able to catch Yuri, leads him to reveal the truth to Ava about Yuri's illegal arms business. Ava confronts Yuri and begs him to stop. Yuri tries to rationalize his careerto her by simply
saying, "I'm good at it." After some arguing, Yuri eventually complies, but finds it difficult to earn as much revenue through honest means. Yuri gets hooked back into the business when Andre Baptiste Sr. contacts him and promises a very lucrative score.
Vitaly, out of rehab for a second time, comes along with Yuri to Liberia, because Yuri claims he can't trust anyone there. Baptiste reveals that the weapons are being purchased for the RUF rebels of Sierra Leone. Vitaly sees a group of RUF rebels raid a small
Calming down Vitaly
village and kill a woman and her child with machetes. Vitaly, knowing what will happen to the villagers as soon as the RUF buys the guns, tries to convince Yuri to cancel the deal. When Yuri refuses, Vitaly takes a grenade and blows up half the gun shipment. Vitaly desperately tries to destroy the half, but RUF soldiers gun him down before he can. Yuri runs to his brothers aide, but sees Vitaly is mortally wounded. Yuri takes the activated grenade out of his brother's clenched hand, and lobs it at the soldiers, killing them.
Suspicious of Yuri's recent behavior, Ava follows Yuri one morning and finds Yuri's storage container, which is full of weapons, large amounts of
cash and fake passports. Ava takes their child, and along with Yuri's parents, they disown Yuri. Yuri then gets arrested when a bullet is found in Vitaly's chest as it passes through customs. Valentine, is notified and he comes down to the airport holding cell to interrogate Yuri. Valentine is sure that he can now find solid proof to convict him with, by telling Yuri that he's found the storage container. However, Yuri explains nonchalantly to Valentine that when Valentine contacts his superiors at Interpol, he will be informed to let Yuri go. Yuri has positioned himself as a "necessary evil", a man that can distribute
Lord of War
weapons when first-world governments do not wish to become formally involved. United States Marine Corps officer Colonel Oliver Southern (Donald Sutherland) speaks to Valentine and Yuri is in fact, subsequently released. Even though Yuri has lost almost everything he's ever cared for, he still continues to operate and expand his career running illegal arms.