In "War on Everyone" we follow two joyfully corrupt cops Terry (Alexander Skarsgard) and Bob (Michael Pena) as they're both looking to get 'get rich quick' by ripping off a group of criminals who ripped off a racetrack for a cool million dollars. In climbing the hierarchy of criminals involved in the heist, in one way or another, Bob and Terry discover that a rich British businessman, who also happens to hold an OBE (Order of the British Empire) is at the top of this myriad of debauched and depraved criminals that holds the loot.
I was looking forward to War on Everyone because I love black comedies and because I love the style of writer/director John Michael McDonagh, but this one really fell a far way short of his other movies, ie, The Guard and Calvary. The script lost all the charm and wit that made his other movies so surprisingly enjoyable and traded it in for a ton of caustically acerbic dialogue that often felt like he was trying way too hard to be relentlessly funny and mean-spirited. It didn't feel anywhere near as refined or as polished as his other movies did. War on Everyone looked like a cheap movie, which I don't think should be considered a sin, in some cases, but it did look noticeably cheap. Most of the budget probably went on getting the two main actors to headline the movie, and they both did a good enough job. Alexander seemed to be channeling a perpetually drunk and ornery hunchback, while Michael provided what little stability and rationale the pair had with his trivia and little philosophical musings.
There was practically no character development whatsoever, which surprised me because John usually does extremely well writing genuinely funny and down to earth characters. Granted, Bob and Terry probably weren't intended to be the down to earth types, and I'd say they were deliberately written as over the top, but they were still caricatures that had no real depth, and very little emotion to them. I had a hard time believing that these two could even be cops for any amount of time given their behavior and attitude. Most corrupt cops are able to be corrupt because they're able to fool everyone else, or intimidate them, but Bob and Terry just don't give a fuck. Internal Affairs could come in and ask where to start looking for corruption, and everyone would immediately point to Bob and Terry. It felt too unbelievable, so did all the characters. The plot is thin and relies on stringing 'joke-to-joke', but I thought John Michael McDonagh was going to dig a little deeper than he did, especially with Terry.
The movie jumped around quite a bit too, both geographically, and narratively, and not always seamlessly either. It wasn't a confusing movie, just a jarring movie. The colorful representations of the characters, both visually and verbally, was so satirical and over the top that they were verging on being outright parodies. Which may have been the point, but I didn't feel like it worked, if it was even intentional. Alexander and Michael had their moments where they made me laugh, but I was left cold more than I was in stitches. And I'm a fan of uber black comedies, John Michael McDonagh, and both Michael and Alexander, but this one just didn't click with me on any sort of memorable level.
Written by - The Sentry - 15/06/2017