Tuesday, 31 July 2012

This Means War

To be honest, this is a film I can’t seem to place into one genre. Could it be a RomCom? An action comedy? A chick flick? I really don’t know. Based on what I saw, I think we’ll have to combine the three. So, there we have it. It’s a ChickRomAction film! An odd name, an odd film; here’s what it’s about.

Tuck (Tom Hardy) and FDR (Chris Pine) are spy operatives, and best buddies. Both are single, until they each meet a woman. Unfortunately for them, it’s the same woman; Lauren (Reese Witherspoon). She decided she can date them both, unbeknownst to the fact that they know each other. Both guy wanting the girl, they sue their spy skills to detect on the other’s relation with her. But which one will she choose?

This sounds all very girly, and romantic and happy and shit, but I enjoyed this film, to a certain extent. It’s easy watching, and it’s fun. Obviously, it comes with NUMEROUS flaws, which shall be detailed, but for an easy 90 minutes, this works. I think if I really HAD to choose one fitting genre for it, I’d go with an action comedy. Even though this tries effortlessly to be both, yet neither.

The first flaw I found is the editing. There are so many continuity errors in the opening scene alone it made me want to throw ice cream bowl at the TV and burst into tears. Also, when it comes to the action scenes, the editing is choppy, characters are flying all over the frame and then reappearing where they started off, and it’s just awful. Dialogue scenes involve characters repeatedly changing position from cut to cut to cut, and I got bored of noticing all these tiny errors. They may be small, but when you group the amount this film contained together, it’s enough to make me knock a few points off the film.

Also, the story seems a bit familiar. It doesn’t really try to break the mould, it just sort of settles on top of it. It’s more original than other action comedy romcoms out there, but it doesn’t push itself to go any further, when it easily could have done. It’s an easy genre of film to create, yet it doesn’t push in any clear direction. It doesn’t favour action, nor comedy. This can be considered good, a well balanced mix. However, we hardly get any of either. There are a few scenes in which you’ll chuckle (including a pretty damned funny 3 minute Paintball scenario)m and there a few explosions which might make you widen your eyes, but they never go further. I wanted to be rolling with laughter, jumping out of my seat with the action; but neither was strong enough.

But, on a positive note, when it gets it right, it gets it right. The action and pace picks up towards the final act, and some pretty cool set pieces are sprung out of nowhere. This (finally) enables us as an audience to get into the film; just a shame it happened so late into the lean running time. Although, 93 minutes is good here, any longer and I’d have been reaching for the STOP button. As I mentioned earlier, there is a pretty funny Paintball scene during the film which gives a few solid laughs, and there’s also a scene in which the spies unintentionally simultaneously break into Lauren’s house and hunt for clues to get to know her better, and there’s also a brilliantly funny final moment. Literally, the last 10 seconds of the film.

That’s about it though; “This Means War” doesn’t push itself. It’s a smart story, it’s more original than you’d expect from a film in this genre, and it makes for an entertaining hour and a half. Although, there are much better options. “Get Smart” and “Date Night” both prove to be better action comedies, because both of them push to get laughs. This didn’t. It’s a shame really; it had it in it to be exceptional. It just never quite reaches the bar.

To Summarise: Wasting a talented cast, “This Means War” is only mildly funny and only occasionally explosive; mediocrity at it’s very best. 

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