If we think about a movie set in Albuquerque, USA, involving two policemen who fight against a powerful criminal gang, we’re surely to expect a lot of violence, sex and strong language in an alpha-male story of perverted masculinity.
And you’d be right to expect that in War on Everyone, where the cops are nearly as despicable as their enemies. It’s a black comedy in the style of Hot Fuzz or The Shield and follows the sarcastic, violent officers Bob (Michael Peña) and Terry (Alexander Skaarsgard) decide to take their own back after being cheated by the dangerous British aristocrat Lord James Mangard (Theo James). The script is not as controversial as it could have been, but it shows some unusual aspects from a buddy cop comedy: it’s a narrative based not on action but on acid. There’s even a politically-incorrect romance between Terry and a kind-hearted stripper called Jackie (Tessa Thompson) as an emotive secondary plot.
"You’ll never hear Rhinestone Cowboy in the same way again"
Filmmaker John Michael McDonagh, who made a similar work with 2011’s The Guard, has created in this film an absorbent visual world which is sometimes surprisingly chilling. But if there’s something surprisingly gratifying about this movie, it is the eclectic soundtrack, which includes rock ‘n’ roll, salsa, and country ballads. You’ll never hear Rhinestone Cowboy in the same way again.
Skaarsgard and Peña fit their roles perfectly, despite not normally starring in these kind of movies, but the real stars of the movie are the strange supporting characters portrayed by Malcolm Barrett, Caleb Landry Jones and David Wilmot. Without them, the film wouldn’t be half as hilarious as it is.
War on Everyone would like to think it improves on the well-worn ‘buddy-cop comedy’, but in fact it’s too conventional to be considered a special one. Nevertheless, it’s not a bad option if you want to watch a lot of violence, sex and strong language and all these things we love in action movies.
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