War on Everyone (15)
Directed by: John Michael McDonagh
Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Michael Peña and Theo James
Running time: 1hr 38mins
The idea of good cop meets bad cop is a tried and tested one in Hollywood, but as the tagline to War on Everyone informs, what happens when bad cop meets worse cop is far more entertaining.
Terry and Bob aren’t dirty cops. They’re not soiled or morally unsteady. They’re something else entirely. They insist on bribes, violence, alcohol and more violence. Are they bad guys? Probably, but they’re likeable guys, and they do have echoes of standards and ethics.
Especially when they’re facing Lord James Mangan, a man whose money allows him to walk outside of the law – you can see what’s coming – until the lads cross his path.
Director John Michael McDonagh has been a man of quality over quantity. The writer of Ned Kelly, his career when it comes to calling the shots has given us The Guard and Calvary, two films that blend excellent storytelling with a demonstration in the necessity of selecting the right cast.
If you’ve seen them separately in anything recently, then Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña may seem like the oddest of odd couples. But once they step on screen together as the blurry lined cops, their natural chemistry drives the entire film to follow. They’re funny, dark and morally wrong all at once, but it’s their flaws that make them perfect together. The duo are genuine hellraisers from the word go, especially Skarsgård, with this being his best character work in quite a while. Peña doesn’t miss a beat either, with his disjointed family man character fitting like a glove.
Like McGonagh’s previous works, this is dark and story-driven, but the humour shines – perhaps more than any of his other gems. Although the film will never stray far from where you think it’s going, its individual parts make up a very entertaining whole. A much-needed laugh, spliced with a luscious bloodbath, and you have the natural progression of films like Lethal Weapon.
3.5 out of 5 Nerds