War on Everyone Review

Director: John Michael McDonagh

Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Michael Penã, Tessa Thompson, Malcolm Barrett, Theo James

The Overview

Two corrupt cops in New Mexico set out to blackmail and frame every criminal unfortunate enough to cross their path. Things take a sinister turn, however, when they try to intimidate someone who is more dangerous than they are. Or is he? (Source: IMDb

The Good

In a year which has been pretty terrible for comedies, aside from The Nice Guys which I loved, we now have the War on Everyone, a film which makes every possible effort to be as much like The Nice Guys as possible, which is a smart move really, considering how good that film was. 

Whilst being so similar is ultimately to this film’s detriment, it is on the whole, pretty entertaining and pretty watchable. Comparatively The Nice Guys was very entertaining and very watchable…sorry, I’ll stop now! 

The film opens with our corrupt cops chasing a mime, with Penã observing “if you hit a mime does he make a sound”. Whilst they sadly waste the funniest line of the movie in the opening minutes (and it was also ruined in the trailer), it does very much set the tone for how this film is going to be. The humour is black, and some of it a little on the nose, but the performances make it watchable. Michael Penã in particular is a delight, and I would watch him in absolutely anything now, after he stole the show in Ant-Man. He has a way of delivering lines which is just so naturally engaging, and he’s the real stand out in this otherwise pretty average film. 

The storyline moves at a fair pace, and even though you kind of know how it’ll pan out right from the start, it stays fairly consistently entertaining throughout. 

The Bad 

I really wanted to like this film more, but everything it does, The Nice Guys did better, and I kept thinking how I’d rather be at home watching that instead. 

Whilst some of the humour (mainly everything Penã said) was funny, it was a bit too on the nose for me, particularly with the race stuff. It is the film embodiment of the “three guys walk into a bar joke”, and it’s a joke which wears pretty thin over time. 

Speaking of thin, Theo James’ generic British villain is so bland, with barely even a slither of worthwhile character development. In addition, a lot of the narrative pieces seem like they’re secondary and thrown so quickly in your face you don’t have time to enjoy them properly, which stopped the film being really enjoyable for me. Engaging performances can only do so much, particularly when there’s so many other weak links in the cast and plot. 

It’s almost cartoon-like portrayals of characters and over reliance on stereotypes are a crutch which the film leans on too heavily. This film lacks the sharp wit and drive it needed, and ends up being pretty lacklustre and incredibly forgettable. 

The representation of it’s female characters is very questionable indeed, to add to this, and it left a pretty sour taste. 

The Verdict

I saw this movie so you don’t have to. Whilst not in the depths of 2016’s crappy comedies (looking at you Grimsby and Dirty Grandpa!), War on Everyone fails to do anything new and exciting and is incredibly forgettable. You’ll chuckle at a couple of things, and I don’t doubt that the humour will resonate with some people, but given the choice, I’d rather have watched The Nice Guys instead!
Agree with everything I’ve said or am I a totally misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Let me know in the comments below! 

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