This Means War (2012)

Maybe if these guys sang some Johnny Cash, they would have won her over easily.

The world’s deadliest CIA operatives (Tom Hardy and Chris Pine) are inseparable partners and best friends until they fall for the same woman (Reese Witherspoon). Having once helped bring down entire enemy nations, they are now employing their incomparable skills and an endless array of high-tech gadgetry against their greatest nemesis ever – each other.

From afar, this actually looks like a pretty fun flick with a clever premise, a ‘True Lies’ feel to it, and three reliable leading stars. However, it’s such a shame to see all of that go down the tubes when you have a crap director like McG. That’s right McG. The d-bag that single-handedly killed the ‘Terminator’ series.

The film begins with another shitty McG action sequence that is loud, stupid, unneeded, and cartoonish to the point of where I couldn’t believe anything going on and also to the point of where I couldn’t even tell either because McG felt the need to move the camera around constantly just to add more of a crazy feel to it. The action isn’t a constant in this flick but when it does happen, it looks poor. I know they spent a lot of moolah on this flick, but I have no idea as to why the hell they would considering none of it went to the budget.

To be honest, I think half of it went to the THREE writers they had for this flick and I’m definitely thinking that one of them still hasn’t graduated 5th grade yet. The film tries so hard to be funny within the first 15 minutes with all of the fart, sex, and dick jokes that never hit the mark at all. It also sucks because this film borrows from so many other flicks that after awhile it’s just too hard to imagine this flick as its own, original self, and more as a parody flick that takes all of these ideas from other movies and puts them into one for shits and gigs. The problem here is that they’re very serious.

The comedy was terrible here (except for one scene that has to do with paint-ball), which is a given, but it’s when the flick tried to be all serious and mushymushy is where it really made me ticked off. First off, doesn’t anybody think it’s a little weird that these dudes are basically sharing a girlfriend? These guys are best friends and decide to play a little game but I don’t know why anybody would ever want to get sloppy seconds, let alone, your own best friends’. I know that some people out there actually do put down bets on this sort of thing to see who can sleep with the chick first but they aren’t even doing that, they’re waiting to see who she loves first which is pretty cruel and sadistic. The sad part of this flick is that the film’s tone is really playful and acting like this whole thing is a fun time even though anybody who would want to try to bet who can get a girl to love them first, is pretty much a total dick-headed thing to do no matter who you are.

However, it’s not only the guys that are playing this little game, she’s testing it out too and even though I am against that, I still couldn’t believe the fact that this flick tried to get us to feel something for her when everything is revealed to her. This is a chick that chose to two-time, get caught up in both of them, cheat on them both, and basically act like they’re the one, and we are supposed to feel something for this damn chick?!? I don’t care if you want to have fun going out with two guys at once, but don’t start crying about it when it comes right back to get you because that’s when you know that karma is a bitch and frankly, you deserve it.

As for this obviously talented cast, they are pretty much all wasted on a script that has no idea what they’re doing, other than trying way too hard. Tom Hardy is a very strange pick for a lead rom-com role as the sensitive but muscled, Tuck, and this guy tries his hardest, he really does, but I couldn’t help but think that this sort of role just doesn’t fit him at all. I just felt like Hardy was sleep-walking through this role and even though he still has that charm we all know and love him for, I couldn’t help but think that this sort of sweet and relaxed role, just isn’t the kind for the dude who walked around naked for about an hour-and-a-half, kicking the shit out of everybody in his way in ‘Bronson’. Chris Pine is here as FDR (whoever wrote this, definitely was in history class when they were writing this) and does what he always does which is be sly, cool, and sexy enough for all of the woman to want him. He doesn’t do anything different, but it’s not all that bad in the first place either.

Reese Witherspoon is once again playing that ditzy and super-cute blond chick role that she’s been doing in rom-com land for the past decade and she still is alright here as Lauren Scott. Even though this is nothing new for Witherspoon and her chemistry with both is OK (her and Pine is probably better), I still feel like she deserves a meaty enough role for her because she has shown in the past that when she gets those sort of roles, she can do a superb job, but she just hasn’t really had them for the longest time so I guess we’ll have to put up with more of these shitty rom-coms from now on. Probably the best part of this flick was Chelsea Handler as her best friend, and she made me laugh the most with all of her constant jokes and one-liners. I definitely think with a smart script Handler could get her own leading role, but then again, that seems very far-fetched.

Consensus: Even though the leads try their hardest, This Means War fails in almost everything such as a bad direction from a dude nobody likes as it is, a script that feels like it was written in some 12-year old’s journal, and a premise that may be all fun and games when it first starts, has a very dark and mean feel to it deep down inside. Then again though, maybe I’m just a weirdo.



  1. Wow. Reviews for this seem to be all over the place. Some, like you, hate it. Others found it palatable enough and some really enjoyed it. I think I’m still going to hedge my bets and see it at the cinema.

    (Strange thing – tried to head here about half hour ago and got a page saying your blog had been suspended!)

  2. Thanks again, Dan. I agree this film was a little rubbish, but enjoyed it a whole lot better than Ghost Rider. *shudder* I found Hardy’s interception at the art display scene quite hilarious, too!

  3. I was afraid of that. When I heard the movie exces pushed the release date back, I knew this movie was in trouble.

    Thanks for the review, I was thisclose on watching this movie.

  4. I really have no interest in seeing this, but I wanted to know if McG was still ruining the film industry. Sounds like he’s staying on track to be the worst commercial director ever.

  5. I’ve been wanting to see this. Based on your review it sounds kinda lame, but I always love the Spy vs. Spy comics in Mad Magazine, and it seemed like it had some of that in it.

  6. Right you are about the action scenes.

    Pine and Hardy are actors, not action stars like Jason Statham, Jet Li, etc., so they are not able to do the stunts and fighting moves you’d want in an action movie–the way it’s advertised. Guys looking for an action/romance hybrid they can see with their girlfriends are going to be disappointed.

    I don’t think the love triangle is quite the menage-a-tois you’re making it out to be. She is not the girlfriend of either one of them, they are merely dating.

    However, the fault does not rest entirely on McG’s shoulders. This film reeks of studio interference. The film was cut down from an “R” rating to the more profitable PG-13 rating, and was likely cut for running time, rather than allowing it to build the way it was intended.

  7. I remember reading a McG interview that he regretted being too soft on his Terminator movie. He went for the opposite direction here. This isn’t the first time I’ve read a review criticizing the meanness, but it does treat its characters like puppets to smack each other even though FDR and Tuck should have established ground rules within their friendship before Reese’s character came along.

    I don’t hate this movie that much, but for people in relationships looking for an action-romance hybrid, they should just wait for Titanic to be re-released.

  8. I will watch this film since I do have respect for the three main performers, I would not even think about that it was McG who directed it…he will be just like Minority Report’s subliminal messages, annoying but you can ignore LOL! Not a good director I have the same sentiments! Good read! Cheers.

  9. wow. after reading through your review I wasn’t expecting the score you gave it. haha.

    I agree with a lot that you didn’t like about the film, including McG’s opening sequence and Reese Witherspoon’s playing it safe with the same type of role.

    Pine and Hardy really made this film good for what it was.

  10. All very valid points! This movie definitely didn’t make any history and isn’t necessarily something I would watch again, but I did actually find myself enjoying it in a “I don’t want to think too hard about it and just take it for what it is” kind of way. I think if the cast was different, like Katherine Heigl instead of Reese, I would have felt completely different – but since each of these actors are all credible, I thought they did a good job with the material they were given and I ended up liking all of them, rather than feeling the need to judge them for all the cheating-lying-stealing-spying.

  11. Wow…this a harsh review, but you have some very great points. I’d be very interested to read what you think of movies like The Artist and My Week with Marilyn.

  12. The establishment still wants to turn Reese into the new cutesy romantic comedy star that they so desperately need after Katherine Heigl has proven to be a hit-or-miss, and there is no more Meg Ryan to deliver a hit.

    This is one of those instances in which you just know it’s gonna suck, from looking at the trailer and considering the idiotic concept of the idea. It’s also a shame that Tom Hardy is part of the cast as he can do a lot better than this, even though, in all fairness, so can all of the other actors.

    Props to you for being brave enough to go see it.


  13. Yeah this film was pretty shit. There were some bits that I did enjoy like the paintball bit. I think I can remember reading that Hardy chose this role as a break from the dark, hard-hitting roles this Bronson and Bane.

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