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John Michael McDonagh
Michael Pena, Alexander Sarsgard, Tessa Thompson, Paul Reiser
Writing Credits:
John Michael McDonagh

Two corrupt cops set out to blackmail and frame every criminal unfortunate enough to cross their path. Events, however, are complicated by the arrival of someone who appears to be even more dangerous than they are.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 98 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 4/11/2017

• “Everyone Sounds Off” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


War on Everyone [Blu-Ray] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 5, 2017)

A cop flick with a darkly comedic side, 2017’s War on Everyone takes us to Albuquerque, where we meet two local cops. Detectives Terry Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård) and Bob Bolaño (Michael Pena) use their position of power to enrich themselves via various methods of blackmail.

The detectives’ corrupt ways come back to haunt them when they pick the wrong target. Terry and Bob attempt to extort strip club Russell Birdwell (Caleb Landry-Jones) and his drug-abusing boss "Lord" James Mangan (Theo James). This leads the cops down tricky paths that don’t go as planned.

The opening shot of War features a mime who runs from the police. Any movie that launches with a close-up of a fleeing mime declares its quirky intentions from minute one, so we know to expect wacky hijinks from it.

“Quirky” becomes a good word to describe War, as does “self-conscious”. The film goes down a fetishistic path that makes it a knowing tribute to/parody of 1970s cop flicks, with an emphasis on intentional cliché.

Whereas 2016’s Nice Guys offered a clearer “throwback” flick, War filters its 1970s ambitions through the lens of the 1990s. When its characters watch 1998’s Out of Sight, we get a self-aware nod to this film’s influences, as War partially embraces the glib, stylized side of the Soderbergh palette.

Probably a bigger influence comes from Quentin Tarantino, as War shows us that writer/director John Michael McDonagh must use him as an influence. The dialogue in War goes down a clear Tarantino-esque path, which means the lines always seem “written” and not realistic.

Tarantino and a few others can pull off this form of stylized speech, but the techniques work less well in McDonagh’s hands. As hard as he tries to deliver punchy, witty lines, the end result lacks the desired bite.

That said, McDonagh pulls off the 90s throwback better than most, and he manages to create a fairly involving movie, even if War lacks what I’d call a coherent plot. Sure, I gave a synopsis that implied a certain “A to B” path, and technically, War follows that route, but it takes a windy road to get there.

A long and windy road, as Paul McCartney might say, and not one that leads anywhere in particular. McDonagh clearly intends War to both embrace and spoof 70s crime flicks, and this means the movie favors random nods in that direction over logic.

War definitely exists as a parody of “buddy cop” movies, though not an overt one. It takes a while to realize McDonagh’s intentions, as he keeps things subdued enough to semi-camouflage the mockery, albeit in the film’s idiosyncratic manner.

This factor leaves War as a better Tarantino/Soderbergh “homage” than most, and one that someone manages to overcome its various flaws. Given its rambling, largely incoherent narrative and self-conscious armful of influences, the film really should flop and become insufferable.

But it doesn’t, so while War never turns into a particularly strong film, it still manages to create a pleasurable enough experience. It offers a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts, so even with its ups and downs, it does okay for itself.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus D

War on Everyone appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a strong visual presentation.

At all times, sharpness worked well. Virtually no softness emerged, so this remained a tight, well-defined presentation. The image lacked signed of moiré effects or jaggies, and neither edge haloes nor print flaws marred the image.

To the surprise of no one, the palette favored orange and teal, though it also threw out some prominent reds at times. The hues seemed well-rendered for the film’s visual intentions.

Blacks offered good depth and richness, while shadows seemed smooth. Low-light shots presented accurate visuals with just the right touch of opacity. The transfer looked very good.

Given the movie’s action orientation, I thought the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack seemed a little low-key. Still, it kicked to life at times, mainly during the occasional chase or shoot-out scenes. These added good movement around the room, but they didn’t appear often enough to make a huge impact.

Otherwise, the soundscape focused on music and general atmosphere. Those elements used the speakers in a satisfying manner, even if they didn’t bring out a lot of pizzazz.

Audio quality worked fine. Music appeared full and warm, while speech seemed natural and concise. Effects provided accurate material with good low-end kick at times. Nothing here excelled, but the soundtrack became more than acceptable.

Everyone Sounds Off: The Quirky Cast of War on Everyone runs six minutes, 59 seconds and provides comments from actors Alexander Sarsgard, Michael Pena, Michael Barrett, Theo James, Caleb Landry Jones, Tessa Thompson, David Wilmot, Paul Reiser and Stephanie Sigman. As expected, “Sounds” looks at cast, characters and performances. It provides a largely promotional affair.

The disc opens with ads for Skiptrace, The Trust, John Wick: Chapter 2, I Am Wrath and The Divergent Series: Allegiant. No trailer for War appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of War. It includes the “Sounds” featurette.

A mix of crime and comedy with a 1970s fixation, War on Everyone offers a mixed bag. While the movie provides reasonable entertainment and can be witty, it wears its influences on its sleeve and tries a little too hard to be clever. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals along with generally good audio and minimal supplements. Though not a great film, War does enough to sustain interest.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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