War on Everyone **1/2

2.5 out of 5 stars

Basically a remake of Lethal Weapon with 2 Martin Riggs (the Mel Gibson character) updated with extra expletives and crudeness, this is entertaining enough and has its moments but is also rather cynical and disposable – the perfect example of a film where the whole is less than the sum of its parts. Frankly, the narrative comes across as unfocused and a bit all over the place but the bigger problem is the writer seems to have confused eccentricities with characterisations. So Michael Pena’s cop and his wife quote philosophy to each other; Alexander Skarsgard’s cop loves Glen Campbell (so that his greatest hits can be used to soundtrack the film) and Tessa Thompson’s stripper is actually a cultured dancer because she reads a lot and loves MOMA. But other than that sketchy outline, you don’t really know, let alone care for, these characters. It doesn’t help that the big bad played by Theo James is more cartoonish than villainous. Maybe all this is just very tongue in cheek but somehow I had hoped, after the wonderful The Guard and the more thoughtful (and still thrilling) Calvary, John Michael McDonagh’s first ‘American’ film would be more than just a bunch of eccentric sub-Tarantino-esque characters running around until the vacuous and uncharacteristically redemptive Grand Guignol finale. Also: will someone please explain the title of the movie to me?

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