Writer/director John Michael McDonagh received critical accolades for his last two feature films, The Guard (2011), and Calvary (2014). His unique brand of social commentary mixed with a wicked streak of black comedy, made me curious about his latest project. Unfortunately, War on Everyone is crass, and unnecessary. In the opening scene, our two protagonists, Albuquerque, New Mexico cops Terry (Alexander Skarsgård) and Bob (Michael Peña), are chasing a mime. Terry asks Bob if a mime will make a sound if you hit it with a car. These two are the kind of cops that just have to find out…And so, the lowbrow tone of War on Everyone is established.
Bad cops in every way, Terry and Bob spend most of their time driving around in a classic blue muscle car, looking to stir up trouble. Terry is the handsome one. A bachelor, he loves a good drink, and is absolutely obsessed with Glenn Campbell (Campbell’s songs account for much of the soundtrack), by contrast, Bob is a devoted family man with a surprisingly intellectual side. However, they both demean with equal veracity–multiple sclerosis, dyslexia, homosexuality–not much is off limits.
What passes as a plot develops when the guys tail a few goons plotting a heist at a downtown mosque–a crime Terry and Bob are interested in profiting from. Their ‘unconventional’ detective work doesn’t pay off in the way they necessarily expected, Terry is able to woo the enchanting Jackie Hollis (Tessa Thompson) away from one of the goons, while an informant named Reggie X (Malcolm Barrett) leads the duo on a trip to Iceland. At least there’s some nice scenery!
Nothing here works for a sustained period. Even Terry obsession with Glenn Campbell music feels like a recycled gag from a ’90s era Quentin Tarantino movie. Eventually, the guy’s find their way into a strip club run by dapper Brit “Lord” James Mangan (Theo James), at which time things get personal. When the issue of child pornography is introduced, Terry and Bob are compelled to do the right thing. However, since they have made fun of nearly everyone and everything, it’s too little, too late.
Presented in the 2.39.1 aspect ratio, this 1080p transfer is a strong one. Sharpness is very good, with no real softness in evidence. The print has no discernable flaws to mar the image. The colors are well represented, and fit the storyline very well. Blacks appear inky, and offer a nice level of depth. Skin color appears natural, and realistic. This is a very nice transfer.
Given the films action orientation, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack is a bit subdued. Nonetheless, it showed some livelihood during chase scenes and shootouts. I would have expected a bit more heft throughout though, and the surrounds don’t really make much of an impact. Music is full, and ambience is pleasing. Dialogue is clean, clear, and concise.
English and Spanish subtitles are included.
The following extras are included:
- Everyone Sounds Off: The Quirky Cast of War on Everyone: (HD, 6:59) In this rather standard EPK, actors Alexander Sarsgard, Michael Pena, Michael Barrett, Theo James, Caleb Landry Jones, Tessa Thompson, David Wilmot, Paul Reiser and Stephanie Sigman offer comments on their fellow cast members and their performances.
- DVD of the film.