This Means War

12 Sep


Director: McG

Writers: Timothy Dowling (screenplay), Simon Kinberg (screenplay)

Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy

Motion Picture Rating: 12A

Runtime: 97 minutes



I knew that this would be an underwhelming film when I caught Tom Hardy looking very uncomfortable promoting it on a UK chat show about 5 months ago. His explanation at that time was that after a lot of ‘serious’ or ‘complex’ films he wanted to do something that was ‘light’ and ‘full of action’. He fidgeted in his seat and only calmed when quickly moving on to talk about playing Bane in The Dark Knight Rises and playing Forrest Bondurant in Lawless. That he was directed in those better films by Christopher Nolan and John Hillcoat respectively no doubt swelled his pride as This Means War is directed by serial offender and ludicrously named McG.

The director McG helmed the highly unoriginal Charlie’s Angels films and the highly derivative Terminator Salvation. His directorial style through those films and into This Means War is one based on fakery and polish, pumping action, lots of noise and zero soul. Of course he can only work with the scripts and cast provided, but there is something very lazy, false and patronizing about the way that McG goes about his work. You can see it from the start of this film and during the 100 minute run the glibness rubs off on the cast, big stars all 3 of them, so that they get lazy and phone it in. No wonder Tom Hardy struggled to sell it on that chat show.

The story has Tom Hardy and Chris Pine as best friends and spies who fall for the same civilian girl, Reece Witherspoon, and then battle it out for her heart. It is a high concept / popcorn movie. Hardy and Pine get to do secret agent action stuff whilst also trying comedy in their attempts to spy on and to sabotage each other’s dates with Witherspoon. The plot, clearly, is ridiculous. The action is similarly so and the comedy mostly miss-timed and / or miss-judged. It is not funny, but creepy to watch the paramours apply surveillance tactics on nice girl Witherspoon. There is something a little Mr. & Mrs. Smith about the premise here, but This Means War is poorer. It is soulless, joyless, far from exciting and a film that Tom Hardy will regret for a long time.

One Response to “This Means War”

  1. Olivia September 28, 2012 at 3:48 am #

    I’m so sad to read that This Means War was so bad! I never see movies in theaters, so I always wait until I can get a movie through my Hopper’s Blockbuster @Home app. I noticed this is available, and I thought to myself, how could a movie with Chris Pine and Tom Hardy ever be bad? I do appreciate the warning, but curiosity does have the best of me, so I’m going to tough it through. At least I didn’t spend the money to buy it on DVD, and I won’t even have to leave my house. One of the girls who works in the same call centers for DISH as I do said that this was the best movie of the year. I guess I should have doubted her review since she does have pictures of Chris Pine pinned all over her cubicle. Thanks again!

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