This Means War (M)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byLewis Bostock29/02/2012

One out of Five stars
Running time: 97 minutes

The majority of movies released by the Hollywood studio system are average to bad. The challenge is to find redeemable qualities in a sea of mediocre movies, but every now and then a movie comes along that is potentially hazardous to your health. This Means War is one of the movies.

The film stars two leading men Chris Pine (FDR) and Tom Hardy (Tuck) as loathsome CIA operatives fighting over the horribly miscast, Reese Witherspoon (Lauren). The men use their skills and high-tech gadgetery to ruin each other's dates and woo their love interest in the hope that she chooses the "better" man. It's frat-boy competition taken to an extreme.

What's so harmful about the movie is the blatant sexism. This Means War strips all agency and dimension from its leading lady so all that remains is a shrill stereotype of a woman, or what can only be referred to as a "blonde bimbo". Reese Witherspoon is actually playing an object so the men have something to fight over and all the women watching can imagine themselves in love with the men.

The filmmakers believe that if you give a female character "sparky" dialogue about Hitchcock movies and a job at a focus group firm for consumer products (yuck!) that's enough to pass as a convincing modern woman these days, but it leaves you feeling sorry for the state of Reese Witherspoon's career.

The movie actually had the gaul to evoke American feminist and political activist Gloria Steinham "who didn't go to jail so you (Lauren) could be a little bitch about it, you get out there, you get flexible" suggesting that her inability to choose between the two men is anti-feminist!

The men here are jerks. They behave in a way that's deeply troubling and even criminal. The middle section of the film is devoted to using the agency's resources to gather "intel" on their love interest. They both wire-tap her house and even create a sex tape without her consent. This is all supposed to be funny and light-hearted, but people are on trial for similar behaviour right now.

With the tidy premise and attractive cast in mind, I went into the cinema believing this would be a passable mix of romance and action, but director McG trying his best to break out of Hollywood jail (after the disastrous Terminator: Salvation) proved that he hasn't got the chops for either and ruined what appeared to me to be an easy Valentine's Day play with his clumsy editing and bad direction. It all builds to a loud, disorientating climax involving a high-speed car chase and a totally unmemorable villain, and finally concludes with a predictable pairing and a return to Hollywood-style family values that's eye-rolling in its formulaic banality.

If the film is worth seeing for one reason, it's Tom Hardy. Despite the fact he's playing a despicable character, he brings brio and an irresistible accent to the role, which is often ridiculed by characters for no reason? Don't rush out and see it, wait for the DVD, if you want something to "hate watch".

Film Trailer

This Means War (M)
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Content updated: 06/12/2019 06:35

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