This week’s Netflix Pick is another in an increasingly long list of excellent movies with great talent that slip under the radar of the casual movie-goer. War on Everyone is exactly why I wanted to start digging into Netflix and finding these hidden gems. My picks are sometimes more in the mainstream but just because a movie or show is popular doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be recommended.
Terry Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard) and Bob Bolano (Michael Pena) are tight knit partners and best friends. They make a lot of collars. They are arrogant assholes who lie, cheat, steal, beat, blackmail, and frame any criminal that crosses their paths. They are on thin ice with their Lieutenant (Paul Reiser) but don’t care. They don’t seem to care about anything really, aside from Bolano’s family.
A new breed of criminal comes across the pair with the sophisticated Lord James Mangan (Theo James). The corrupt cops normal tactics get them into more trouble than they are used to and their lives are at risk. Or infinitely worse, they may end up doing the right thing (in a roundabout way).
War on Everyone is aptly named after getting into the characters. This is more The Nice Guys than Training Day. In fact, it feels a lot like on studio’s answer to whatever The Nice Guys spec script was called as it was being shopped around. It doesn’t play out the same way or try to capture the same chemistry, it takes things in its own, cruder, direction and we are all the better for it. The Nice Guys was a fun movie with some good acting but it felt very standard in many ways. War on Everyone is in your face and unapologetic The story isn’t as tight as some other buddy cop comedies but Pena doing comedy is Pena at his best.
Neither Skarsgard nor Pena will be receiving acclaim from the academy for this movie but that doesn’t mean they aren’t engaging and entertaining as hell. Some would even argue that the two things are mutually exclusive of each other. The performances are large, some of the acting over the top (especially with the film’s villains) and the movie fully leans into its absurdity of a genre that’s been kicking around since the mid 90s.
Not only is War on Everyone a fun buddy cop comedy with some halfway decent action elements, it also plays out like a parody of the very same genre. Not quite as successful in the execution as Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost’s Cornetto Trilogy but a whole lot of fun for the modest run time just the same.