Runtime: 1 HR, 38 MIN
Starring: Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Reese Witherspoon, Til Schweiger, Chelsea Handler, and Angela Bassett
Film Rating: 2 out of 5
What sinks This Means War more than the lack of action is the recycled rom-com plot. As I mentioned earlier it has a very non-complimentary Sweet Home Alabama feel to it. I found that plot to be somewhat offensive because of the sexual double standard it presented and ten years later it still bothers me. Imagine if This Means War centered around a good looking single man that was dating two beautiful women. Both women, at least on the surface seemed like genuinely good people but he hid the fact that he was dating them both until he could base his decision on their sexual performance. Let that sink in for a moment… that sounds a lot more like a late night Skinamax flick than a big budget Hollywood romantic-comedy doesn’t it?
This Means War is directed by action hack McG who has previous works include the manic Charlie’s Angels films, the uncharacteristic We Are Marshall, and the ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ puss-fess Terminator: Salvation. I can honestly say that This Means War is probably his most enjoyable film thus far but unfortunately that’s not high praise because it’s just as manic and two-faced as most other McG films. People are always very tough on director’s like Michael Bay for their disjointed action sequences but I’d say McG is even worse. For all of Michael Bay’s considerable faults I think he usually delivers on at least half of what he advertises which can lead to a (stupidly) entertaining film, simply put McG continues not to deliver.
Pine and Hardy are very enjoyable in their respective roles and their dueling dialogue keeps the paint by numbers story from being completely devoid of entertainment value. The script was handled by the creative minds behind Role Models and Sherlock Holmes which are two films that also include a lot of ‘brotastic’ dialogue. Not nearly as enjoyable is Reese Witherspoon who is perfectly cute but who’s personality is as unattractive as the film is action packed. Rounding out the main cast is the loved and hated Chelsea Handler who I thought did pretty well in a one-dimensional role, not fairing as well is Til Schweiger who is equally one-dimensional but is completely wasted being the boring European villain.
I didn’t hate This Means War but I certainly didn’t love it either. The Sweet Home Alabama plot, morally bankrupt leading lady, and lack of action outweigh the Chris Pine and Tom Hardy’s enjoyable banter. I doubt I’ll ever watch This Means War again because it’s a fundamentally flawed film with far too little working in its favor.
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