Film Review: This Means War

This Means War is the perfect Hollywood movie. It has lots of action set piece to appeal to a male audience, and a rom-com storyline to appeal to women. Throw in some attractive movie stars and its win-win. The only problem is the end result is absolute tosh.

The story (if we can call it that) revolves around two CIA agents, FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy). They’re both best friends, and because the filmmakers deemed the audience too stupid to figure that out for themselves, it is pointed out to us several times. Tuck is a very quiet introverted man who has recently divorced, while FDR is more of a womaniser. Tensions build between the two though when they both start dating the same woman, Lauren (Reece Witherspoon). So, it proper caveman style, the two agents decide to do battle for Lauren’s affections.

The first thing you need to know about this movie is that it’s directed by McG, which should be considered your first warning to run for the hills. From the horrifically cheesy Charlie’s Angels to the overly loud and boring Terminator Salvation, the director has been unable to shake off his ability to direct every movie as though it’s a music video. The only things that matter to McG are soundtrack, costumes, and action. That’s why it’s quite surprising that the CGI shots in This Means War are rather poorly done. If it wasn’t for the cast and expensive suits, it would look rather cheap.

This does mark a low point in the careers of all three of the main cast members, but their efforts are commendable. Pine and Hardy have good chemistry, and along with Reece Witherspoon do try their best with a rather cynical and altogether misjudged script. The dialogue is rather sharp, and the ping-pong of dialogue between characters is probably the film’s only redeeming feature. It aims for comedy so many times, and it misses the mark so completely it’s almost painful to watch.

Throw into the mix the scenes involving hidden spy cameras on dates, which are so horrifyingly voyeuristic it makes you want to tear your own eyes out, and this film is a total disaster. What’s worse though, is that this is the kind of movie Hollywood thinks we want to see, and considering the cast and combination of action and romance (again, if we can call it that) it will attract a big audience. It will do well, but it would be a great moral victory if it didn’t. For all our sakes, please avoid.

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About Eric Wood

Eric Wood is 21 years old, from Bury in Greater Manchester, and a graduate of Salford University where he studied Journalism and English Literature. His first novel comes out later in the year, and he begins work directing his first feature length movie in the summer. Eric absolutely adores all forms of writing and loves movies so he’s the ideal film critic. His greatest inspiration for many years has been Michael Crichton, as Crichton has written novels, non-fiction, screenplays, and directed movies. Eric would love to be able to achieve all of those things in my lifetime.
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