HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: War on Everyone
HTS Overall Score:68
I was initially drawn to “War on Everyone” due to director/writer John Michael McDonagh’s inclusion in the project. I’m a huge fan of his dramas “The Guard” and “Calvary”, both fun little flicks starring Brendan Gleeson. The trailer for “War on Everyone” had a distinct mix of 70s vibe with a little “Lethal Weapon” mixed with plain slapstick action comedy. Seemed like everything I ever could have wanted, but upon watching I was a bit confused. I’m not talking confused like “wait, this isn’t what the trailer showed”, but confused as in really confused what the point for the film was. McDonagh mixes in heavy doses of “Three Stooges” level of stupidity (actual stupidity for the two main characters) with SOME elements of Quentin Tarantino and then mixed it all into a slightly esoteric and jumbled narrative that spit out this little head scratcher. I won’t say that the movie is awful or devoid of entertainment, but I’m not sure what McDonagh is really going for here.
The main premise centers around two rather light fingered cops by the name of Terry (Alexander Skarsgard) and Bob (Michael Pena), both of whom have their own internal demons and problems while hitting their beat down in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They’re under investigation by the higher ups (and chewed out quite heavily by the chief, who is played by an aging Paul Reiser), but for good reason. They kind of play the Murtaugh and Riggs technique of getting bad guys to talk. Slap them around, plant some evidence of coke on them, snort a bit of coke WITH their informant, and talk up the ladies on the side. When their informant Reggie X (Malcolm Barrett) shorts them on some bribe money the two decides to head to the top to get their cash. The only thing is the top is one Lord James Mangan, a posh British criminal who engages in all sorts of illegal activity. You know, illicit smut videos, killing people, running strip clubs in the like.
In their search for the tippy top the two rogue cops (who are both dumb as a brick by the way) run into all sorts of resistance. The foppish (and slightly effeminate) second in command Russell (Caleb Landry Jones) gives them their best lead, but Reggie X is full of surprises as well. The problem is that our two heroes are like two children stumbling around in the dark. Terry is a drunk who loves to be a little bit of a ladies man, while Bob is a married guy with two kids and the parenting style of ticked off cop. He also tends to fancy himself a bit of an intellectual, spouting off random quotes and little facts throughout the movie like everyone is in awe of his knowledge (although most people want to jam a sock in his mouth.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=94578[/img]McDonagh plays fast and loose with “War on Everyone”. It gives off a very strange vibe of being set in the 70s, with cars, rotary phones and colors that reek of burnished orange and overblown whites. At the same time we’re running around with Glock service pistols, Xbox 1 video game systems and all sorts of other modern gadgets and references (such as the reference to ISIS near the end of the 2nd act). It’s oddly disconcerting but kind of cool at the same time. The movie never gives us any information about time, but lets the odd assortment of period piece lingo and memorabilia just soak into the viewer.
The same can be said about the plot as well. It’s an odd sort of Starsky and Hutch mix with esoteric takes on mustache twirling villains who spout platitudes. Theo James is really kind of miscast as the main villain, and feels more like he’d be better off as a personal trainer rather than a British super criminal. Pena and Skarsgard are fantastic at the roles of their stupid characters, but the direction is really slipping all over the place so you can never tell whether you’re supposed to laugh or roll your eyes at them. We jump from one scene to the next (many using old fashioned wipes and fades to cut from scene to scene) at a dizzying pace and by the end of the movie you realize that it was just like cotton candy. It seems intelligent and purposeful at the beginning, but once you swallow a couple bites you realize that it is devoid of any real intelligence or worthy of sustenance.
Rated R for violence, sexuality/nudity, drug use and pervasive language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=94586[/img]The first thing that you’ll notice about the video is how much it really looks and feels like a 1970s period piece. The burnished oranges all around, the use of track suits, rotary phones and pale pastel colorings combined with slightly boosted contrast levels. However, the detail is still superb and the real primary colors (like the red in Reggie X’s track suit) pops quite nicely. The digital photography looks fairly clean and clear of major artifacting (though there is a little digital noise) and the black levels are satisfactory (though they sometimes look washed out as a result of the boosted contrast levels).
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=94594[/img]The singular 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix is also just as satisfactory as the video. The action movie has plenty of dynamic scenes that amp up the volume and have bullets flying overhead to activate the surrounds. Cars crash into the sides of strip clubs with ferocious glee, and the end gunfight creates a fantastic layer of immersion while 1911’s fire all over the place and debris is crashing around them. The dialog is strong and clear, although I did have some difficulty hearing Russell speak (he tends to mumble in a soft voice), although that isn’t something I’m blaming on the encode. LFE is tight and fairly consistent, adding in some serious weight and punch during the action sequences and backing up things like cars and club music before fading away into the quieter moments.
• "Everyone Sounds Off: The Quirky Cast of War on Everyone" Featurette
“War on Everyone” is a strange little film with some definite appeal to it. Skarsgard and Pena work well together, and the semi Tarantino style dialog makes for quite a few moments that had me chuckling a good bit, but the slapdash script and strange editing style left me feeling rather cold and ambivalent about the whole film. Especially the ending battle which seemed to come out of the blue and really have no relevance to the rest of the movie. Audio and video are quite fetching, but the extras are pretty much nonexistent. Low rental in my opinion.
Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Michael Pena, Theo James
Directed by: John Michael McDonagh
Written by: John Michael McDonagh
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 98 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: April 11th, 2017
Buy War on Everyone On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Low Rental
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