John Michael McDonagh’s War on Everyone is an entertaining buddy cop movie with a fizzing script. The cast and setting should ensure the filmmaker reaches a wider audience, and deservedly so.
Bob and Terry are corrupt cops in New Mexico. The pair regularly frame criminal and steal evidence. The pair may have met their match, however, with an adversary who appears much more dangerous than them…
Writer-director John Michael McDonagh brings his brand of black comedy to the United States with War on Everyone. McDonagh’s film has a definite 1970s feel, with the soundtrack and the iconic car. It is almost as if War on Everyone is the quintessential buddy cop movie turned on its head. Bob and Terry are certainly antiheroes, subverting expectations with their actions. In fact, McDonagh satirises American law enforcement with this film. It is certainly timely; the film focuses on officers who exploit the power of their badges and engage in police brutality. The film is played for laughs, albeit in the darkest humour. The message, however, is clear.
War on Everyone moves at a good pace, with action ramping up as the film progresses. The script complements this very well. The film fizzes with amusing lines. The momentum is measured so that there is time of contemplative yet humorous remarks. Humour hits more often than it misses. There are some wonderful lines in the film, although viewers need to be onboard with black humour to really appreciate them.
Michael Peña and Alexander Skarsgård have a good rapport as Bob and Terry. It makes a change to see Peña in a leading role, instead of simply the comedy sidekick. Tessa Thompson is decent as Jackie, whilst Malcolm Barrett delivers a good turn as Reggie.
War on Everyone is functions well as unconventional buddy cop movie and a satire on the state of US law enforcement. It is highly recommended viewing for fans of McDonagh’s previous films Calvary and The Guard.