War on Everyone (2016) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

Director: John Michael McDonagh
Writer: John Michael McDonagh
Stars: Alexander Skarsgård, Michael Peña, Theo James

The third film (not counting a short called The Second Death) from English Director John Michael McDonagh after The Guard and Calvary. War on Everyone is a sharp, funny and deliberately offensive comedy written by McDonagh also.

Bob Bolaño (Michael Peña) and Terry Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård) are two bent cops who blackmail criminals all over town. The two of them drive about in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo with their type of justice the order of the day (just not the kind of justice their Lieutenant Gerry Stanton, played by the brilliant Paul Reiser (Mad About You & Beverley Hills Cop) would approve of).

Some of the humour is in your face and obvious and some of the funniest moments are observational. During one scene in particular the crime fighting partners are on a stakeout eating burgers. When it’s time to intervene, Terry kicks in the door to the house, guns in position, they still have the burgers they were eating in their other hands. They find a man slumped on the floor bleeding with a knife in his stomach and the mans wife sat there screaming much to the annoyance of Bob and still, yes that’s right…eating their burgers. I know this may not be everyones kind of humour but I thought it was silly funny.

Some of the one liners will tickle you and one that springs to mind is when Terry and Bob show photographs to their informant Reggie (Malcolm Barrett) who quick wittingly says “who took these pictures? An epileptic?” berating the quality of Terry’s camera skills.

Michael Peña (Ant-Man and The Martian) is excellent as Bob Bolaño and is well suited to the role. His one liners will have you laughing (especially his conversations with his kids and the way he treats them) his character is excellent with his screen wife, (Stephanie Sigman) and the film would have benefited greatly by more of their on screen chemistry.

Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård (The Legend of Tarzan and Zoolander 2) brings a deadpan character to his role of Glen Campbell obsessed Terry, who became a policeman because “you can shoot people for no reason”.

Skarsgård shows that given a half decent script he might even be able to deliver the goods as there is some good comedic moments, but other times he came across a little awkward next to Pena, who is much more suited to the comedic role.

I can’t review War on Everyone without mentioning the whole host of colourful characters supporting Terry and Bob from Tessa Thompson’s Jackie Hollis, Reggie, the informant (Malcolm Barrett), the strange Russell Birdwell (Caleb Landry Jones) and The bearded Paddy Power (David Wilmot), but unfortunately at times it made the story feel like a disjointed and segmented from scene to scene whenever the supporting characters appeared apart from every scene with Malcolm Barrett who delivered every time with some memorable one liners.

The grainy cinematography by Bobby Bukowski (Arlington Road) had a blend of a 1970s vibe mixed together with Tarantino edge to it in the style of Death Proof, which is heightened by John Michael McDonagh’s possibly overusing wipe effects.

War on Everyone is not for everyone as it is a bit over the place at times if I’m being honest, but certainly, the movie is funny and has enough to enjoy it for Peña alone and worth at least one watch.

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