This Means War – Review

What happens when two top CIA spies fall for the same girl? The answer can be found in This Means War, a film that has everything, especially if you are looking for three good-looking people in an action-packed and humorous spy caper.

Directed by McG, of Charlie’s Angels and Terminator Salvation fame, we get it all, from high-octane gun fights to tender romantic scenes and not forgetting a generous smattering of great comedic timing. Firstly, we have the brilliantly English Tom Hardy, who is all set to rip up the scenery as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Here he plays Tuck, a divorced CIA agent who is trying to get back into the dating game. Alongside him comes the just-as-handsome and professionally single FDR, played by Chris Pine (known for playing Kirk in the 2009 Star Trek film).

When they both fall for a lovely-looking Reese Witherspoon, what will our two bad-ass lotharios do? Will they step aside to preserve their friendship, or will they declare a love war on each other? The title of the film should speak for itself, and the ensuing events make for a really entertaining 98 minutes of viewing.

Reese Witherspoon’s character Lauren, is an endearing, hapless-in-love young woman who is living in Los Angeles, where she moved for her ex-boyfriend. She is now single and looking for the right guy, so what is a girl to do when both Tom Hardy and Chris Pine come along at once? Witherspoon gives an energetic performance, where oddly enough we end up rooting for her, as she enjoys dating these two fine specimens of manliness. However, every novice player needs that opinionated friend to tell them they are doing the right thing, and thankfully for the entertainment of the audience, she has just the one in the form of Trish.

Trish, played by producer/actress Chelsea Handler, is married to a rather large and unattractive man, which thus makes her feel the need to live vicariously through Lauren. She sends barrages of encouragement and advice down the phone every time her friend calls in a quandary over dating two guys. Her lines are hilariously witty, so much so that it borders on predictable. However, if you just sit back and enjoy this outspoken housewife for what she is (someone who would fit in well with the girls from Bridesmaids), then it definitely brightens up the film. Her line “get out there, and you get flexible” pretty much says it all.

Now, we must devote a few paragraphs to the two smouldering, swaggering spies whom Lauren just can’t bring herself to choose between – it’s a tough life, but someone’s gotta do it. First, we have the tall, dark and handsome Tom Hardy and his character Tuck. He plays a cross between the bad-ass spy and a man who is out-of-practice with dating and just wants to find the right girl and settle down. This is the perfect film to show off Hardy’s romantic side, as well as allowing him the opportunity to fire a few guns and punch a few bad-guys. However the focus of This Means War is not really on the spy side, so much as the love triangle at its centre.

This is where Chris Pine comes in, being just as good-looking, in the opposite corner. His character FDR is very different to his close friend Tuck when it comes to the ladies. He is cool and confident, not wanting to be tied down and is surprised at himself when he realises he has fallen for Lauren. Again, Chris Pine is able to shine as a love interest, as he is, well, quite dreamily good-looking. He is also great at doing the spy stuff, making it the type of film that both guys and girls will enjoy.

His relationship with Tuck is something that, after Trish’s surprisingly crude comments, brings the second biggest element of comedy into play. Their great chemistry makes for hilarious banter and we then get to enjoy watching their relationship become more and more competitive because of their shared interest.

If you go see This Means War, be prepared for a film that ticks many boxes, albeit if the action box receives a rather smaller tick. The spy element is more just a good background for the real plot, which is, no matter what many critics may have said, very entertaining. It comes out in the UK on 2nd March, so get ready for an onslaught of brooding good-looks and lots of Reese Witherspoon being conflicted.

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Rating: 4.3/5 (3 votes cast)
This Means War - Review, 4.3 out of 5 based on 3 ratings