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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Chris Pine
Tom Hardy
Reese Witherspoon
Angela Bassett
Chelsea Handler
Til Schweiger.
Directors
McG.
Screenwriters
Timothy Dowling
Simon Kinberg.
Running Time
98 minutes

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This Means War
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Plot
FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are bosom buddies and super-spies. But when both start dating Lauren (Witherspoon), soon each is using his professional skills to keep track of the other's progress.


Review
This Means War
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How to attract both men and women to the cinema in equal numbers? It’s the age-old dilemma for studios. One gender — says the conventional wisdom — wants action, explosions and large things being smashed. The other, so the story goes, prefers emotion, kisses and fabulous shoes. Here at last is a film almost scientifically designed to appeal to both camps, covering all those factors like a checklist. The good news? It’s also entertaining.

That’s largely thanks to great casting. As unhappy singleton Lauren, Reese Witherspoon pulls off the tricky task of remaining sympathetic while seeing two gorgeous men, her character trying for an insouciant approach to modern dating that clearly doesn’t come naturally. Whether she’s bonding with BFF Trish (US comedienne Chelsea Handler), trading barbs with Chris Pine or flirting with Tom Hardy, Witherspoon handles it with such finesse that you won’t realise until later how much the film depends on her walking the line between relatable to women and desirable to men, between fortunate and afflicted.

As the suitors, Pine and Hardy offer a study in contrasts. Pine is the cocky ladies’ man, Hardy the gruff loner with the soft heart. It’s familiar territory for both (cf. Star Trek; Warrior), but more importantly they convince as friends, rivals and spies. Also crucially, both men retain our sympathies by convincing us that they genuinely want Lauren and aren’t just playing to win. It’s even possible that there are also some smart observations in here about the dating game: learning more about what Lauren wants by eavesdropping on her private life, both men scramble to correct the shortcomings she perceives, resulting in some unlikely self-reflection and attempts to change how she sees them. It’s the Heisenberg uncertainty principle as it applies to dating, something we doubt was first intended.

Any such cleverness, however, is incidental to the sex-comedy shenanigans, explosions and car chases; after all, there’s bad guy Til Schweiger to contend with. The opening scene sees an undercover mission in Hong Kong somehow devolve into a shoot-out that takes in (or better, takes out) a crowded rooftop party and involves the use of wing suits; it’s not terribly original but it serves to establish the two reckless spies and their tough boss (Angela Bassett, tragically underused), as well as introducing Schweiger’s Heinrich, the focus of their investigation. A night-club punch-up around the halfway mark is much better, but the big action comes in a freeway car chase late on. Inbetween, it’s left to the spies’ scrambling attempts to outdo one another in love to raise the comedy temperature and keep the action fans happy. Their methods — spy cams; chemical warfare; use of sniper rifles in extremis — are sufficiently unorthodox to avoid romantic cliché, although rumours from the script stage of a city left in rubble by the spies’ rivalry are unrealised. Still, there’s a fair bit of collateral catastrophe and you will be left wondering how on Earth they escape this episode with their careers intact, given the blatant misuse of Bureau resources and flagrant breach of any number of laws on covert surveillance.

While the final result of all this is as slick and shiny as Hollywood can make it, the chemistry between all three leads makes this a likable and frothy confection that’s closer in tone to director McG’s TV successes — Chuck especially — than his recent cinema outings. And that is a very good thing no matter what your sex.


Verdict
Smart, funny and really quite hot, this is worth a look no matter what you think of Charlie's Angels.


Reviewed by Helen O'Hara

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for This Means War
Empire Star Rating

AWFUL AWFUL RUBBISH.......

all the talent involved should know better - apart perhaps from the director "McG"??? Charlie's Angels 2 full throttle - ? Christ. I guess it must have been a nice payday for all concerned - but then to have to pay money and actually sit through this cinematic bilge.........ooohhh booooyyy......I think you have to stick a rating in otherwise the empire website won't let you submit the review. OFFICIAL EMPIRE RATING - ONE STAR - my own personal rating - MINUS 27 STARS!!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ROTGUT at 17:04, 09 April 2013 | Report This Post


GREAT SAT NITE MOVIE...

VERY ENTERTAINING, AND GREAT CHEMISTRY BETWEEN THE THREE LEADS.......WITHERSPOON ESPECIALLY GOOD..... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by chrisdagnall at 10:21, 03 September 2012 | Report This Post


This Means Shit

This is a shit film. A really, really shit film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ashy at 14:04, 11 April 2012 | Report This Post


daft but enjoyable strangly

only went to see this as had nothing beter to do and actually rather enjoyed it. not to be taken serious at all ,had some funny moments and the lead casts are good with what there given. all in all not a must see but theres a lot worse out there than this ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by chrisharvey1551 at 05:30, 01 April 2012 | Report This Post


Witherspoon, Hardy & Pine only just rescued me from gouging my eyes out with a plastic ice cream spoon.

Given the script and the director, this film should be worse than it is, but impressively the tri-force that is Witherspoon, Hardy & Pine Associates (awesome lawyer firm name, by the way) don’t so much as rescue the film, but certainly rescued me from gouging my eyes out with a plastic ice cream spoon. I longed to see Hardy and Pine in another movie, to see them with some witty banter to banter wittily with. Similarly, their comic timing was impeccable, but without decent comic wi... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by thebackseatdirector at 11:19, 14 March 2012 | Report This Post


RE: fairly average

Unadulterated bullshit, quite frankly. Why? Why do I keep punishing myself by going to see movies directed by McG? The man may have some visual flare every so often, but for the most part he's a talentless hack whose work makes me wonder why he is continuously allowed to run riot with large budgets. Granted, the kinds of projects he generally helms appeal to 15 year old boys and that brings in the benjamins, so I suppose it isn't really that unclear at all. I hold my hand up in shame ... More

Posted by Filmfan 2 at 14:31, 09 March 2012 | Report This Post


fairly average

Captain Kirk and some Brit fight over Legally Blonde totty. A clever idea and some wry observations are wrapped up in a film that doesn't know quite what its audience will be. Best character is the female friend and most underused is the guys boss. But overall forgettable nonsense and a bit of a wasted opportunity. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bretty at 10:13, 09 March 2012 | Report This Post


RE: BAD stay away lucky ones who haven't seen it yet.

L: jcthefirst I liked it. She ended up with the wrong guy though. bet it wasnt those twomy guess anyway. ... More

Posted by OPEN YOUR EYES at 22:51, 08 March 2012 | Report This Post


RE: BAD stay away lucky ones who haven't seen it yet.

I liked it. She ended up with the wrong guy though. ... More

Posted by jcthefirst at 22:18, 08 March 2012 | Report This Post


RE: BAD stay away lucky ones who haven't seen it yet.

L: Wild about Wilder Supposedly they filmed a bunch of different endings well if they did think they chose the bloody wrong one to use in the end. rying to get my head around a Brit being in the CIA?ote] Still dont get how two 'hunky,macho' guys find Reese Witherspoon the girl of there dreams. ... More

Posted by OPEN YOUR EYES at 11:21, 08 March 2012 | Report This Post


RE: BAD stay away lucky ones who haven't seen it yet.

Supposedly they filmed a bunch of different endings well if they did think they chose the bloody wrong one to use in the end. Still trying to get my head around a Brit being in the CIA? ... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 11:09, 08 March 2012 | Report This Post


BAD stay away lucky ones who haven't seen it yet.

Such a horrible movie! Honestly stay away from it! Tom Hardy is hardly acting in this one. I can’t find the words. I think he is good only for 20-25 minutes like in Inception. No more. I can't forget how bad he was when he was "flerting" and looking away and I don't know if it was smt McG wanted of Hardy didn't remember but not remembering your sons name was not cool. It was 5 seconds too much. The story: Two 12 year old CIA agents one of which is a Brit, somehow fall for the same woman. The ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by smakris04 at 18:45, 06 March 2012 | Report This Post


ignorant and offensive

tragic is the only word to describe this ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 00:24, 05 March 2012 | Report This Post


This Means War Review

This Means War is smart and funny entertainment. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 21:23, 04 March 2012 | Report This Post


Fun

Seen it on valentines day with the missus. It was leave your brain at the door and sit back and have a chuckle movie going. I enjoyed it, had a few good laughs and some pretty decent action. As for people having digs at Hardy. The guy is such a serious actor, he did Warrior, TinkerTailer and TDKR recently, it was clear he needed to make a movie in which he could actually have a laugh doing so, and i think its good that he did. For the movie 3 stars is about right :-) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Heisenberg at 19:48, 04 March 2012 | Report This Post


This was a great film with some veryfunny moments. I also thought it had elements that would appeal to both male and female audiences which can be a rare thing. definitly worth a watch and better than similar films of recent years. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ChrisAJ20 at 19:39, 04 March 2012 | Report This Post


This was a great film with some veryfunny moments. I also thought it had elements that would appeal to both male and female audiences which can be a rare thing. definitly worth a watch and better than similar films of recent years. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ChrisAJ20 at 19:39, 04 March 2012 | Report This Post


Thought the scene where Superman checked up on Lois was creepy in Superman Returns? Well this just beat it with a scene in which Tom Hardy and Chris Pine both break into Reese Witherspoon's house to place surveillance bugs and check up on her hobbies. This movie was stalker paradise! The jokes were dire, the action infrequent and the character non existent. It's clear that no care went into the making of this film. Worst film of the year contender! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by odddaze at 11:07, 03 March 2012 | Report This Post


RE: This Means War

Saw this a couple of weeks ago at a press screening and really enjoyed it! Going in my expectations were anything but high and like many people I was asking myself "e hell Tom was thinking!? However, it just works! The chemistry between the 3 leads is fantastic and there are plenty of big laugh-out-loud moments. y don't see why people are giving out about Hardy this film. yeh it's not gonna win him any oscars but it's one film and from the reviews I've seen and hard so far, it's not e... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Adam James at 19:56, 27 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Why Tom, WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????

L: musht I really don't see why people are giving out about Hardy this film. yeh it's not gonna win him any oscars but it's one film and from the reviews I've seen and hard so far, it's not even that bad. It's a fun film and I think it's sad that just because Hardy decided to do one fun film he's being called a sell out. This isn't just in response to you, guysalisbury (your criticism isn't even that harsh), I remember when the trailer came out there was a lot of anger towards Hardy f... More

Posted by OPEN YOUR EYES at 12:51, 27 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Why Tom, WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????

@musht. Fair play, just fancied a bit of a rant. I blame Monday. I don't doubt for a second that this will be damn entertaining, and even if it isn't, hopefully everyone will forget about when they see TDKR. I just want more than anything to have an English actor as the new king of Hollywood! Good shout about Fassbender too, never thought of that! ... More

Posted by guysalisbury at 12:51, 27 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Why Tom, WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????

@musht. Fair play, just fancied a bit of a rant. I blame Monday. I don't doubt for a second that this will be damn entertaining, and even if it isn't, hopefully everyone will forget about when they see TDKR. I just want more than anything to have an English actor as the new king of Hollywood! Good shout about Fassbender too, never thought of that! ... More

Posted by guysalisbury at 12:50, 27 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Why Tom, WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????

Really looking forward to seeing this. ... More

Posted by NCC1701A at 12:16, 27 February 2012 | Report This Post


Why Tom, WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????

With TDKR fast approaching I was certain that Tom Hardy was going to cement himself as one best / coolest / most credible actors out there. I really can understand why he agreed to do, what looks to me like a pretty average film. TDKR will project him into superstardom and this just seems like it was an unnecessary risk to take. Having said all this I still think he is coolest guy on the planet so lets just bring on July! PS. Why can I write something without having to give it a star rating???? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by guysalisbury at 10:16, 27 February 2012 | Report This Post


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