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Saturday, June 2, 2012

This Means War Blu-ray Review

Reviewed By Jami Ferguson
They are the CIA’s best, trained for any situation…except one. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment plays the ultimate spy game as two best friends fight for the right of one woman’s hand in This Means War, coming to Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download May 22. Starring Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line), Chris Pine (Star Trek) and Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises), the laugh-out-loud comedy gets even better on Blu-ray with three alternate endings that answer the question – what if she chose the other guy? The world's deadliest CIA operatives, FDR Foster (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy), are inseparable partners and best friends until they fall for the same woman (Witherspoon). Having once helped bring down entire enemy nations, they are now employing their incomparable skills and an endless array of high-tech gadgetry against their greatest nemesis – each other.

Film (4 out of 5 stars)
Tuck (Tom Hardy) and FDR (Chris Pine) are CIA agents and best friends.  During a mission in Hong Kong, they accidentally kill bad guy Heinrich’s brother.  Their boss, Collins (Angela Bassett) is very unhappy, considering the mission was supposed to be covert.  Heinrich wants revenge and both men are assigned to a desk for their own safety.  FDR is quite the ladies man, and isn’t looking for love.  Tuck, who has a young son, wants to find someone to grow old with.  He sees a television commercial for an online dating site and signs up.
Lauren Scott (Reese Witherspoon), a product tester, loves her job.  She moved from Atlanta with a boyfriend who ended up cheating on her and she runs into him and his new fiancĂ©e.  She complains about being unlucky in love to her best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler).  Trish then takes it upon herself to sign Lauren up for online dating, using college pictures of Lauren doing a keg stand and other enticing details.
Lauren is angry about being put on the website, but sees Tuck’s picture.  Thinking Tuck is cute, they arrange to meet.  FDR thinks that online dating is a terrible idea and warns that the women on those sites usually pee standing up.  FDR insists on attending the date, and later agrees to wait at a nearby video store in case Tuck needs rescuing.  Tuck and Lauren hit it off and FDR gets the call to let him know his assistance is unnecessary.  Lauren leaves the date and decides to rent a movie where she runs into FDR.
Lauren is not impressed with FDR at the video store, as he tries to pick out a movie for her to rent.  Having never been rejected like that, FDR hacks into her video store account to get more personal information.  He then shows up at a test group, being rather obnoxious.  Lauren agrees to go on a date with him just so he will leave.  Lauren’s date with FDR starts off poorly but ends well.
Back at the CIA FDR and Tuck are both doing background checks on their new flames and they decide to show each other her photo.  When they turn their computers, Lauren Scott’s photo is on both screens.  At first FDR agrees to back out, but only because it would be unfair to Tuck.  Tuck thinks he is the better man for Lauren.  The two make a gentleman’s agreement where they decide they will not tell Lauren they know each other, will not interfere in the other man’s dates and will not have sex with her.  Most importantly they agree that if it in any way effect their friendship they will call it quits.
Tuck is the first to recon FDR’s date, but soon both men are using the full resources of the CIA to their advantage.  Spying on Lauren’s conversations with Trish they learn a lot about her and that she is torn between the two men.  She decides on a sex tie breaker.  Both men reiterate their intentions not to sleep with Lauren.  When Tuck lights a bunch of candles at his home, FDR arranges for the sprinkler system to go on.  When FDR gets Lauren back to his place, Tuck shoots him with a tranquilizer dart before he can get any action.
Eventually Lauren makes her decision and calls Tuck to lunch.  Although the guys are now fighting intensely for Lauren, and their friendship is in jeopardy, FDR realizes Heinrich is in town and he rushes to tell Tuck.  That is when Lauren realizes that the two men know each other and she is very angry to have been kept in the dark.  Lauren calls Trish to come and get her but Heinrich kidnaps both women.  After a car chase leading to the edge of an unfinished freeway, an out of control vehicle careens towards Lauren.  With Tuck on one side and FDR on the other, Lauren makes her decision when she dives for one of the men.
This Means War is a chick flick, first and foremost.  Don’t be confused by the fact that it’s about two CIA agents.  It stars Reese Witherspoon, it’s a chick flick.  The two leading men will certainly appeal to the ladies.  Chris Pine is traditionally handsome, and Tom Hardy’s British accent will be sure to win over the ladies.  I hope the guys like the humor, and enjoy watching Reese Witherspoon take off most of her clothes.  If they think they are in for a James Bond type spy thriller they will be disappointed as the spy stuff isn’t all that interesting, and most of it happens in the first and last 5 minutes.  A lot of the things I liked about this movie surprised me.  Chelsea Handler is not one of my favorite people but she did a great job playing a really inappropriate best friend and mother.  Tom Hardy also grew on me more than I expected.  The banter between the two CIA agents is really funny and their own friendship and history is sweet.
Video (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
This Means War is presented on Blu ray in widescreen 2.40:1 ratio.  The film has an often grainy appearance and flesh tones are fairly accurate but with a slight orange hue.  The colors are bright and vivid and it is a good looking film overall.

Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
This Means War's audio presentation far exceeds the video.  It is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio with 5.1 Dolby Digital descriptive audio, Spanish and French language tracks.  From the very beginning, the sound of the helicopter blades and bullets whizzing by makes you feel like you are in the center of the action.  The dialogue is clear and consistent throughout, even during action sequences.

Special Features (4 out of 5 stars)
The extras are also excellent and there's a wide variety of info available.
  • Bachelorette Party - Lauren's bachelorette party sequence complete with interviews with drunken party guests and strippers.
  • Deleted scenes with optional commentary -Director McG provides commentary on six deleted scenes.  I like the banter between the two guys and Lauren and her friend.  Those scenes could have been kept.
  • Alternate endings - Three alternate endings with optional director commentary.
  • Uncensored gag reel - The cast cracks up during many scenes.  Looks like they had a lot of fun making this movie.
  • Alternate opening concept -Pre-visualization with optional director commentary.  The pre-viz animation looks like a video game.  The director commentary helps this make a lot more sense.
  • Audio commentary - Director McG provides commentary on the extended version.  I enjoy listening to his commentaries.  Sometimes a one man commentary gets boring but McG does a good job.
Final Thoughts  (4 out of 5 stars)
This Means War is one of those films that can be easily torn apart.  No, it's not realistic that a CIA agent hiding from a killer would put his picture on a dating website.  If it was realism I was looking for, I wouldn't go to a romantic comedy.  The Blu-ray offers both a theatrical and unrated edition and in this case, I prefer the theatrical.  The added scenes in the unrated edition didn't add to the film, in my opinion.  I did enjoy the special features, and Director McG's commentary.  If you're interested in a love triangle between Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hardy and Chris Pine - this is the film for you.  If any of those three actors bother you, the whole movie will.  Personally I enjoyed it immensely and have already watched it again since I began writing this review.


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