Review: This Means War (2012)

This Means War (2012)

Directed by: McG | 98 minutes | action, comedy, romance | Actors: Tom Hardy, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Laura Vandervoort, Warren Christie, Abigail Spencer, Til Schweiger, Rebel Wilson, Chelsea Handler, Angela Bassett, Natassia Malthe, Emilie Ullerup, David Koechner

Working for the CIA, it has to be one of the most responsible jobs on Earth. At the CIA you are serious, always looking for the most dangerous criminals around and you don’t have much time for other activities during work. At least, that’s the image many people have of this job. The two befriended CIA agents Tuck and FDR (Tom Hardy and Chris Pine) take their jobs a little less seriously than the average CIA agent. When they both fall in love with the same woman, the beautiful Lauren (Reese Witherspoon), the job and business they are currently working on suddenly become secondary and everything has to make way for Lauren.

What ensues is a comical battle between the two cops for Lauren’s favors, a battle in which no means are shunned. All the gadgets that the CIA owns are used, from listening devices and security cameras to spy planes, nothing is too much for the two agents. In addition, they both do not shy away from making each other’s life miserable, with all the consequences that entails. And although not all situations are equally fun and original, this battle produces some nice scenes. For example, there’s the scene where FDR pretends to be an art expert (using information he receives from a radio transmitter in his ear) and shows Lauren his collection of paintings. This goes well until Tuck takes the signal and puts his own spin on the information. Or the scene in which Tuck, to show his toughness, rages like an animal during a game of paintball with all small children.

While the conflict between Tuck and FDR provides the necessary humor, it is a pity that this often does not apply to the rest of the film. It has been decided to include a second storyline, in which Tuck and FDR have to work together to arrest a criminal, in the film. The action scenes are weak and the sparks don’t exactly fly. Especially towards the end you are treated to a number of unnecessary scenes, such as a wild chase, which feels forced and is completely unnecessary. In that respect it is a pity that ‘This Means War’ tries to present itself as something different than it actually is. While the film holds its own as a comedy, the same cannot be said of the action scenes.

Furthermore, the whole is also all a bit too perfunctory; unsurprisingly, the friendship between Tuck and FDR comes under too much strain at one point with their increasingly fierce battle for Lauren’s favors, something you see coming long in advance and therefore unsurprisingly. It is these flaws that make ‘This Means War’ far from being a perfect film. Still, the film is well worth watching. Because despite the aforementioned flaws, it is above all just a fun comedy, in which the many jokes follow each other in rapid succession. And in the case of ‘This Means War’ that is enough to lead to an entertaining film.

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