‘War on Everyone’ is Sleazy, Immoral, and an Absolute Blast

War on Everyone

The latest film from John Michael McDonagh opens with high speed pursuit through the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The gas guzzling engine of an American muscle car rumbles, tires screeching along the pavement on each and every turn. Two men sit comfortably in the car as it barrels down on their target, a mime. “I always wondered if you hit a mime, does he make a sound?” one of them asks right before the car smashes into the fleeing mime. And just like that in the first few minutes of War on Everyone, John Michael McDonagh establishes the tone of darkly comic action that will run throughout his latest film. There are no heroes in War on Everyone, just varying degrees of villains including the cops that take center stage. However, the chaotic immorality that runs through every frame of War on Everyone is infectiously entertaining, a mixture of sleazy crime drama and action movie tropes that make one hell of a cinematic cocktail.

Albuquerque Police officers Terry Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård) and Bob Bolaño (Michael Peña) are entirely corrupt. Simply put, these are bad cops. Their bad behavior has their boss Lt. Gerry Stanton (Paul Reiser) warning them that any further allegations of corruption and bribery will result in their dismissal from the police force. The threat of termination from their jobs doesn’t dissuade their bad behavior a bit, as Terry and Bob have no problem indulging excessively in alcohol and drugs as they shake down the local criminals for their piece of illicit loot. With a notorious criminal in town, Terry and Bob start harassing Reggie (Malcolm Barrett) about the plans for an upcoming heist with the intention of taking a large cut off the top of the haul. Meanwhile, the British aristocrat Lord James Mangan (Theo James) is overseeing his criminal empire with the help of the extremely effeminate Birdwell (Caleb Landry Jones). It’s only a matter of time before the criminal cops are in a showdown with a criminal mastermind with a million dollars on the line.

Outside of their life of corrupt law enforcement, Terry and Bob are close friends with wildly divergent personal lives. Bob is happily married to Delores (Stephanie Sigman), and the couple care for their two children. Meanwhile, Terry soon finds himself entangled in a relationship with Jackie (Tessa Thompson), a former stripper that Terry met while shaking down a local criminal. The two enter into an unusual relationship, one that sees the two lost souls forming a close bond. McDonagh wisely prevents Terry from being a savior to Jackie or vice versa, though each character certainly benefits from their relationship. The relationship creates a soft touch to the ragged edges of the hopeless alcoholic and excessively violent Terry without letting the character lose that wild edge that makes him so tragically endearing.

If there’s anything that viewers will find off-putting about War on Everyone it’s the film’s rampant immorality. There are no heroes in this movie. There are no good guys. The film’s protagonists (you can’t call them heroes) are devious and wholly corrupt, scheming to rip off anyone and everyone in the most violent way possible. There aren’t even good cops in the film, as we’re informed that even if they’re not corrupt they’re definitely racist pigs. However, McDonagh doesn’t convey this unflattering view of police in a preachy manner. It all unfolds in a lively, comedic take that subverts every trope employed by the violent renegade cop movies dating all the way back to Dirty Harry. The way McDonagh revels in the immorality of his characters seems to border on nihilism at times, though the writer-director makes it all so devilishly fun that this celebration of bad behavior never crosses over into full-blown nihilism.

For his first feature set outside of Ireland, John Michael McDonagh has crafted a sleazy cop story that seems to take the work of Shane Black and twist it to his own delights with witty banter and philosophical musings weaving in and out of seedy criminality permeating through every scene. If you though, as I did, that The Nice Guys was the sleaziest story that Raymond Chandler never told, War on Everyone takes it a step further with violence and sleaziness that might make Black blush. While I’d certainly say that War on Everyone is the weakest of John Michael McDonagh’s filmography, it’s still a rollicking good time at the movies that feels much closer to action beats of The Guard than the moral and religious quandary of Calvary. McDonagh uses War on Everyone to push the limits of the genre and in turn pushes the limits of likability with a set of characters that never come close to finding redemption. The writer-director doesn’t dare use his story to try and punish his characters, which is something that I bet a lot of people will want done to these dirty cops. But what’s really the point of that? War on Everyone makes being bad so much damn fun.

War on Everyone is currently available to rent exclusively on DirecTV. It opens in select theaters and will be available on most VOD platforms starting on February 3rd. 

Shop Deadpool tees in our officially licensed Marvel store!

No Responses

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
The Tiger Hunter
Now on Blu-ray: ‘The Tiger Hunter’ Glides by with its Charming Heart

Always a hot-button issue, the topic of immigration has recently dominated...

'12 Strong' Press Conference
Chris Hemsworth and the Cast and Crew of ’12 Strong’ Discuss Bringing the Declassified True Story to the Big Screen

In the days after 9/11, as the United States grieved the...

Shout! Factory Unleashes Joe Dante’s Cult Classic ‘Matinee’ on Blu-ray

We’re at this point in pop culture where everything seems to...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Vr Change
Guest Author: Katie Green – How Might VR Change the Way We Play

Super Guest Author, Katie Green, shares how VR might change the...

Yu-Gi-Oh Wave of Light
A Big Wave is Coming – Yu-Gi-Oh Wave of Light Structure Deck Releases Friday

A big wave is coming in the form of light, Yu-Gi-Oh...

Yu-Gi-Oh Lost Cards
Ancient Treasures Uncovered – Yu-Gi-Oh Lost Art Cards

Beginning in February, ancient treasures will be revealed and fans will...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Die Hard Christmas
The Greatest Christmas Movie Becomes The Greatest Christmas Book – A Die Hard Christmas Review

The greatest Christmas movie ever made becomes the greatest Christmas storybook...

‘The 49th Key’ is a Familiar Story Told with Soul

Title: The 49th Key Written by: Erika Lewis Art by: J.K....

Tick Tock, Tick Tock, the ‘Doomsday Clock’ is about to Strike!

Title: Doomsday Clock #1 Writer: Geoff Johns Artist: Gary Frank Colorist:...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
WWE Slam Crate Starts the Year Off Right

In just two weeks time WWE’s Royal Rumble not only continues...

January’s Loot Crate is Here!

January is a month where resolutions are made, hopes are extended...

Yu-Gi-Oh Kaiba
Yu-Gi-Oh March 2018 Will Be Great For Your Yu-Gi-Oh Kaiba Cards

Yu-Gi-Oh March 2018 will be great for your collection of Yu-Gi-Oh...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
LFA 30 Full Results

Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA), one of the most recognizable names in...

AXS TV Closes NJPW’s ‘G1 Climax 27’ With Four Episodes From The Final Weekend Beginning Friday Oct. 13

Los Angeles, CA (Oct. 11, 2017) – “Rainmakers” and “High Fly...

New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Rocky Romero has created an auction to raise money for UNIDOS por Puerto Rico Disaster Relief

I’m The costume was worn by Rocky during the final Roppongi...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Adult Continuity #11 Star Wars Underworld: A XXX parody


New Year's Resolutions for Fandom
New Year’s Resolutions for Fandom

It’s the start of another year and while everyone out there...

Samo Says: Star Wars – The Last of My Patience

When I was a child, I loved Star Wars. I had...

Event News Event Reviews
dough bar
The Dough Bar and the Protein Donut

Created by Marquez and Ondrea Fernandez, The Dough Bar Doughnuts are...

Improve Sleep and Performance with TrueDark

TrueDark by Biohacked aims to improve your sleep, performance, and health by...

Pyramid Escape Room Review
Escape Room LA’s The Pyramid Escape Room Review

Overview of The Pyramid Escape Room The Pyramid Escape Room, Escape Room...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming.

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Rising Country Music Artist Kaylin Roberson Talks About her work with St. Jude

Kaylin Roberson is a singer, songwriter and pianist from Raleigh, North...

MTV Unveils Performers for ‘TRL Live’ on October 3rd at 3 p.m. E.T.

NEW YORK, NY (September 26, 2017) – MTV today announced that...

Long Beach Punk Band ‘Spider’ Rocks ‘It’s Not Dead’ Festival

Spider is a heavy hitting punk band out of Long Beach,...