Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña in War on Everyone (2016)

War on Everyone

Crass, senseless, and relentlessly talky, War on Everyone mostly seems like a movie at war with itself. Does it want to be Tarantino kitsch? A winky, post-Deapool satire of buddy-cop action comedies? A vaguely hip Naked Gun 4 1/2? Somehow, writer-director John Michael McDonagh (Calvary) managed to convince a raft of good actors—including Alexander Skarsgard, Michael Peña, Paul Reiser, and Creed’s Tessa Thompson—that he had a master plan. What he has instead is a ratatat spray of one-liners, a crude wisp of a plot, and full access to Glenn Campbell’s back catalog.

Peña and Skarsgard are Bob Bolaño and Terry Monroe, New Mexico police officers who put the vice in vice squad, or something. Terry is woodblock-dumb, but also lonely at night in his bare-walled condo; Peña is a Sartre-spouting brainiac who smashes his own kid’s Xbox for fun. The duo run Albuquerque like Attilas with Ray-Bans and badges, smashing the company car into hapless robbery suspects, snorting contraband coke in pool-hall bathrooms, and facing off with a posh crime lord (Theo James) whose strip-joint-owning sideman (Caleb Landry Jones) is the kind of twitchy ambisexual weirdo that once would have been played by Crispin Glover or Udo Keir.

Somewhere in the next 100 minutes, there’s also a “Rhinestone Cowboy” dance sequence, a quick detour to Iceland, about 4,000 face punches, and a desert soliloquy about jellyfish. McDonagh manages a few moments of genuinely gonzo inspiration, but when you’re killing guys with katanas and making casual jihad jokes about women playing tennis in burqas, the War is probably already lost, friends. C+

War on Everyone
  • Movie
  • 98 minutes