This Means War

this-means-war1When a film is released bearing the announcement ‘directed by McG’ it immediately polarizes opinion. If you have a look at his resume as a director its easy to see why a lot of people hate his work. Movies such as Charlies Angels, The sequel Full Throttle and Terminator Salvation drew criticism from most quarters. Terminator Salvation especially got a pounding for effectively ruining the franchise with the poorest entry in the series. Yes I am including Terminator 3.  So how would a McG action comedy go down with the public and in particular with moviescramble?
The opening is a spectacular action sequence. This serves as an introduction to our main characters FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy). They are CIA agents on a mission to stop the bad guys and get the briefcase. In the course of the explosions and killings they achieve their goal with room enough for a quip or two along the way. The two agents, one British, one American are best of friends. They work and play together. The only thing missing from their lives are romantic relationships. FDR decides to do something about this and gets a date via an internet match up site. As a get out in case the date is not as advertised Tuck backs up FDR by remaining close with a ready excuse for leaving. FDR’s date turns out to be everything he could have hoped for. Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) is charming intelligent and very beautiful. FDR is very taken with her. After the date Lauren crosses paths with Tuck. Not knowing who she is he chats with her and sensing a connection makes a date to see Lauren soon after. It soon becomes apparent to the two agents that they are dating the same girl. As Lauren is unaware that they know each other the two men agree that they will let Lauren choose who she wants to be with. Being secret agents they use every surveillance technique and trick to sabotage the others chances of success.

this means war2This is one film that will not tax your brain trying to understand it. The plot is straightforward and every turn and development is well signposted beforehand. It has the feel of the leads slumming it. They obviously had a good time making it but it will not go down as a great dramatic or comedic role for any one involved. That’s not to say that it was boring. Quite the opposite. It is very well made nonsense and in the right circumstance is the perfect movie to spend a couple of hours with.
The action scenes are all impressive as should be the case with McG in charge. The two male leads, no strangers to action roles themselves, acquit themselves well in that department. Tom Hardy is actually quite watchable in the comedic segments having a good sense of comic timing. The interplay between the two male leads is enjoyable to watch and rarely gets tiresome. Just when you think the film is getting bogged down another action set piece pops up. Reese Witherspoon has her own sidekick in the form of Chelsea Handler playing the part of her best friend. She is coarse and vulgar and the funniest role in the film. Visually it looks impessive. The editing especially in the action scenes is frenetic but still allows you to follow what is going on. Every bit the modern action film style.

This film will split viewers depending on their view of romantic comedies and the work of the director. I am no great fan of the aforementioned efforts of McG but I found that I enjoyed this for what it is. It won’t win any awards or be thought of as a high piece of art in the years (or even months) ahead but it was still a pretty good way to spend some time. Recommended.

John McArthur

Editor-in-Chief at Moviescramble. A Fan of all things cinematic with a love of Film Noir, Sci-Fi and Julia Roberts in Notting Hill. He hopes to grow up some day.

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