Cop comedies…Ride Along, The Heat, The Other Guys – you name it, we have probably seen it. Although, it seems even though we have a plethora of such films the industry is still churning them out. Well, whatever gets bums on seats I guess.
The architect behind Ned Kelly and the masterful Calvary, director, writer John Michael McDonagh adds a very different slice of film to his budding list of work. War on Everyone, is an entertaining recipe; jam packed full of comedy, violence and sex. Corrupt cops are no strangers to our screens, but as the titles roll and we see a highly inebriated man drive into several cars and a lamppost there’s no doubt this is going to be anything but tame. Enter Terry Monroe, a tall and handsome and somewhat drunk policeman and his much shorter, glasses wearing, slightly more sensible partner in crime Bob Bolaño.
Two New York cops that wangle, break and manipulate the law anyway they see fit in order to bring down the criminals the city harbours, and of course to benefit themselves have pushed their luck one too many times. On their final warning from the head of the police department, these cops think they have struck lucky as they catch wind of a new villain in town, Lord James Mangan (Theo James) and his eccentrically outlandish side-kick of a strip-joint owner Birdwell (Caleb Landry Jones). Appearing as a series of clichés, at first glance War on Everyone provides us with a smart and snappy story following Monroe and Bolaño doing whatever it takes to hunt down this new found baddie. Yet, this quickly utilises a recognisable formula, staying safely in the realm of familiarity. At least the American’s won’t find this one too hard to fathom.
The jokes and gags made are outrageously offensive, albeit just as the recent Sausage Party managed to achieve, everyone is in the same boat here – so just don’t take offense here. Whilst the comedy is laugh out loud at times, the slapstick vibes and immature nature of it becomes rather repetitive. If it wasn’t for the sinister nature of Mangan and his child pornography, drug smuggling, arms dealing side plot, this may have fallen dangerously close to landing on the pile of pointless cop comedies pretending they are just as good as Bad Boys. Skarsgard plays a much more laid back role than his Fantastia running, blood sucking Eric in True Blood; although the same amount of sarcastic disdain manages to carry him through this alcohol fuelled cop. Pena handles this role with ease, whilst James brings darkness to his troubled drug attic of a Brit.
War on Everyone is amusingly clever, outright brutal and devilishly dark. The main flaw being that the comedy seemed forced and mis-placed, as if so say ‘it’s ok, this isn’t as dark as it actually is’, rather than adopting the same technique McDonagh did with his recent project. And the dark places, is where this one really worked. Nothing we haven’t seen before; but certainly not a film without laughs.
Out on Fri 0ctober 7th, 2016 – catch Pena and Skarsgard ‘copping’ everything they can get their hands on.