This week saw us venture out to the cinema to see actor of the moment Tom Hardy in his new film, This Means War. The problem is it is a film he should have stayed well away from, and I'm a little surprised he chose to do this. The same came be said for Chris Pine who has begun his career quite promisingly, and this is going to put a huge dampener on his otherwise well building portfolio. On the other hand I don't believe I have seen Reese Witherspoon do anything sophisticated so I can completely understand how she ended up in this movie. Another reason however, that it isn't really that good and not many films I have seen starring Reese Witherspoon have turned out particularly good.
Firstly I have to say that if I was watching this on television or on DVD, I would have turned this off within the first half an hour. I can honestly say it is one of the worst opening half hours of a film I have ever seen. The opening shoot out is too rushed and brings nothing. It is also blatantly obvious it is filmed on a green screen. Next we get cheesy lines delivered with no effort what so ever. Both Hardy and Pine are guilty of this. The introduction of Witherspoon's character is so unbelievable and stupid and I did not understand why she was the way she was. Tom Hardy was also very uncomfortable to watch. I'm not sure why it was but something about his performance in the first half hour was cringe worthy. This is the new up and coming actor who is good as the cocky side kick, and brilliant as an evil villain. Look no further than The Take, Inception or Warrior to see how good this guy can be. The opening here was not his style and it did not work. He did get better and seemed to grow in the role, especially when he had to be a little grumpy or he acted drunk. Pine has also started his career promisingly, he had a great turn as Captain Kirk, but since has kind of dropped off the front line. In the opening half I thought that both these actors are much better than this film.
However, the film did improve and thank God it did. Hardy seemed to improve and Pine's character took more shape. The dialogue was still a little off key but we were slowly getting some funnier scenes. One where Hardy hacks into Pine's earpiece, where he is repeating what an agent is telling him about painting's he is showing Witherspoon. When Hardy takes over, hijacking the frequency, Pine copies the wrong lines and it is fairly funny. Also a scene with Hardy going paint balling with Witherspoon, where he has children shaking in fear as he goes on his rampage.
The action at times is also a little soft. It is typical of McG to throw in odd action scenes, as if the audience will be bored of what we are seeing. This is not always the case and in fact none of the highlights came from the action but from them sabotaging each other's dates. The action comes in the form of a sub-plot to show that they are in fact CIA agents and do have a job to do. It was spliced into the movie though and random points, it could have been much more subtle and was only really there for action and to set up a disappointing ending. McG's directing needs to improve at the top level as it is nothing compared to what is out there. He was good as a television director but his films are faltering. He likes to use slow fades as transitions and this is something that grates on me. They were just thrown in and it didn't make sense.
The film does get a lot better and towards the end I found myself enjoying it, but the opening half hour was painful. It is a bit of fun but it is nothing else!!! I am surprised to see two men who have played or are playing iconic characters (Pine - Captain Kirk, Hardy - Bane) starring in a film like this, and despite them seeming poor in their roles I do believe that if it wasn't for them this would have been even more of a stinker.
Pros: A couple of funny moments.
Cons: The opening half hour, an uncomfortable Tom Hardy and poor direction.
5 / 10
Films of 2012 so far:
1. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol 7 / 10
2. The Grey 7 / 10
3. Safe House 6 / 10
4. Man On A Ledge 5 / 10
5. This Means War 5 / 10
6. J. Edgar 4.5 / 10
7. The Iron Lady 4.5 / 10
8. Shame 4 / 10
9. Chronicle 4 / 10