Despite not making much of a splash in theatres, McG‘s This Means War is a pretty enjoyable film, it also doesn’t hurt that there’s a ton of really great chemistry flying around between the three leads. Though it doesn’t do much in the way of originality, This Means War is a perfectly harmless film that is light, breezy and all together, quite charming thanks to its stars.
Tom Hardy and Chris Pine step into the roles of the two dashing and charismatic protagonists. Hardy plays Tuck and Pine takes on the role of FDR, both are CIA agents and lifelong friends. They are also both on the hunt for love and it just so happens that they both find it. The issue is, both FDR and Tuck take to the same girl, Reese Witherspoon‘s Lauren. Of course, soon enough they both realize that they’re after the same girl.
Though they decide to be gentlemen at first, as each of them offer to step aside and find someone else, things soon become heated. When Lauren starts falling for both of the boys, it’s game on. Tuck and FDR put their CIA duties on hold and begin a game of spy vs. spy, with Lauren being the ultimate prize. Sabatoge, outsmarting and general hi-jinxes ensure as both Tuck and FDR do their damn best to win Lauren’s heart. Of course, Lauren doesn’t realize that Tuck and FDR are best buds, which makes things even more sticky.
Oh, and then there’s some sideplot about a terrorist played by Til Schweiger that the boys have to contend with, though it’s completely under-written and absolutely perfunctory.
McG‘s haphazard direction is readily apparent from the get go but this charming little rom-com/action flick works rather well thanks to its three stars. Like with any good buddy flick, and let’s face it, at the end of the day this really is a buddy flick, the real love comes from the relationship between FDR and Tuck, which is great fun to watch.
Pine and Hardy are both very charming young gentlemen and they play off each other extremely well. Their characters are thin as paper but the actors behind the paper are oh so enjoyable to watch. They come off as suave, sophisticated and cool and watching them go head to head in competition for the girl of their dreams is quite entertaining. Pine and Hardy are both very likeable and charismatic young gentlemen and This Means War has the two young actors at their most charming.
I should also mention Chelsea Handler, who plays Lauren’s best friend. Though she isn’t given much to work with, she steals almost all of her scenes and is definitely a highlight.
The action is handled clumsily and is quite frankly laughable, but it’s there because it has to be there, not because it adds much to the story or works in any way. McG adds on all the slick and shine he can to make his film “cool” and for a while, it does work. Ultimately though, this film succeeds because of the charm and wit that both Pine and Hardy exude. They are both very likeable actors and they’re impossible to resist in the film.
Sure, this isn’t a great movie by any means, but like I said, it’s completely harmless and most definitely watchable. Hardy and Pine make the film and in my opinion, watching them go head to head on screen is worth the watch. It may be familiar territory and entirely predictable but at the end of the day, This Means War is a fun film that makes for the perfect choice when you’re in the mood for something light and mindless. By no means is it a well made film but all the plotholes, poor camerawork and eye-rolling moments aside, I did enjoy this one.
Special features wise, the disc doesn’t offer much. You can check out the full list below.
- Commentary by McG on both theatrical and extended versions
- Alternate endings with optional McG commentary
- Deleted scenes with optional McG commentary
- Alternative opening concept: Previz with optional McG commentary
- Bachelorette Party featurette
- Uncensored gag reel
- Theatrical trailer
As you can probably tell, it’s more or less all filler and there’s nothing really worth your time here. The extended cut doesn’t really add much and while alternate endings are always nice, I don’t think that the ones presented here really do anything better than the one that the film originally went with.
In terms of the disc itself, it impresses on both an audio and visual level. Dialogue is always front and center with no surrounding noises drowning it out. The few action scenes that are presented here all sound great as well, with bullets and explosions rocketing out of speakers with fantastic power and accuracy. Visually, the film looks very slick and colours are quite vibrant and lifelike. The picture stays sharp and clear throughout with little to no crushing.
Would I recommend a purchase for This Means War? Probably. It’s a good movie to have around the house. It’s fun, mindless and enjoyable and would make for a great date flick. It doesn’t do anything especially well but it’s perfectly innocent and all together quite charming. Call it a guilty pleasure but I ended up enjoying the film and would happily watch it again.