Factual error: When Yuri is narrating about selling weapons for the US government (this was around the scene when he sells M-16's by the kilo), he mentions Lieutenant Colonel Southern. However, when you see the him, he has Colonel rank, which is a silver eagle. The Lieutenant Colonel rank is a silver leaf, not an eagle.
Factual error: When the brothers are in Beirut and apparently get shot at by unknown forces behind a wall, Yuri scrambles to grab the money he threw while ducking. As he is picking up the cash, several of the $100 bills are of the new design introduced in 1996. However, this is 1982 Beirut, shortly after the Marine Base Bombing.
Continuity mistake: When Ava is in Yuri's trailer discovering all the guns and things, Nicolai is shown behind the blue things hanging from the ceiling. It cuts to a close up of Ava, then it cuts back to where you can see where Nicolai was standing, but he is gone. It cuts back to Ava and then back again, and he is there.
Factual error: Interpol - and a specific Interpol officer - are shown carrying out raids and arrests in several different countries, interrogating suspects, and operating in the field with a variety of military and paramilitary hardware including operations from jet fighters and warships. In fact, Interpol is an information exchange and coordination agency; it has no direct investigative powers, no powers of arrest, no field agents, and certainly no warships.
Factual error: Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, is depicted with muddy ditches for roads, just one car, and the best hotel is a filthy tumbledown 3 storey building. While Liberia is quite poor, and was badly beset by the civil war, this depiction is severely exaggerated for dramatic effect. Monrovia actually has an 8 lane concrete freeway, around a dozen skyscrapers, and at rush hour traffic is heavy enough to cause traffic jams.
Continuity mistake: During the opening credits when the camera is following the bullet. When it is loaded into the gun magazine three other bullets are loaded in after it. However, when the gun is being fired, twelve bullets are shot out of the magazine before the one bullet is next to fire. (00:04:05)
Continuity mistake: When we see Yuri's son as a toddler, it is 1990/1991 - the fall of the USSR. Yet when Ava discovers the lockup with the paperwork and gun, he is still a young child, aged about 5 or 6, yet this is supposed to be at least 10 years later.
Factual error: Yuri is excited about the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and celebrates by kissing a flat screen plasma TV. Even the earliest plasma TVs were not available until 1997. (00:35:40)
Continuity mistake: Yuri is standing at the stern of the ship ordering the name change to Kono. He takes his binoculars, looks out to sea, and sees the navy approaching. But in the next shot we see the navy ship approaching from the bow of Kono so Yuri could not have seen it approaching from the stern. (00:20:15)
Character mistake: Nic Cage says "At 4 and a half months, the human fetus has a reptile's tail". This is totally incorrect. A human fetus has a tail-like structure between 4 and 7 weeks, not months, and it is little more than a mass of flesh which helps the muscular structure of the backbone develop before being absorbed for use in the formation of the legs and hips. (01:28:50)
Factual error: When Yuri is selling 4 Glock pistols to the drug dealer, the box is open, 2 of the pistols were correct for the period Glock 19's. The 2 pistols pointing at the viewer were the later generation 3 version of the pistol which had the thumb indentations and a rail below the barrel, you can almost make out the finger groves in these pistols which weren't on the 1st generation.
Revealing mistake: When Yuri makes his first big sale, the pile of American M-16s in Beirut, the camera does a close up on the pile of weapons. Clearly stamped on the closest rifle is AR-15, the non-automatic civilian version of the M-16.
Factual error: The scene with Yuri checking Vitaly into rehab takes place in 1989, yet the limo they are riding in is a 1993 (or later) Cadillac Fleetwood.
Continuity mistake: The apartment in NY has a carpet in the foyer for the majority of the film. In the scene where Ava is moving out, there is no carpet - only hardwood floor.
Continuity mistake: When Ava is walking in to Yuri's conex storage container, the view from the back shows an AK-47 style weapon above an M-4 style weapon. When the camera switches to her view as she walks, there is an M-16 over the M-4. When the camera switches again to the view from the back, the top weapon is an AK again.