First Look Pictures // 2008 // 87 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 16th, 2009
"Soda water doesn't kill people. I kill people."
Cuba Gooding Jr.'s direct-to-DVD outing isn't likely to garner much playtime at the local VFW.
David Wolfe (Gooding Jr.) is a highly trained killer, used by the U.S. government to infiltrate terrorist hot spots and take out-what, exactly? There's something much fouler at play here. You guessed it: it's a Sinister Government Conspiracy. Incensed at the betrayal by his country, Wolfe opts to uncover the truth but we all know how thorny that can be. Once he returns to D.C., his entire life implodes, his wife is killed, he's getting shot at on a daily basis and he can't stop frowning.
Your life would suck too if you were privy to the Sinister Government Conspiracy, and when he's finally pushed to far, Wolfe decides to fight back the only way he knows how: more frowning.
Wow, the filmmakers must seriously have a grudge against military personnel. They were either kicked out of boot camp in humiliating fashion at one time or perhaps the dye from their Birkenstocks seeped into their brain somehow. Either way, the movie they churned out here does not look kindly on the ladies and gents that carry guns in the service of their nation.
In the world of Way of War, soldiers are mindless killing machines that take orders without reservation, even if that means killing innocent D.C. convenience store clerks. And if said convenience store clerk happens to fight back, his family, friends and possibly Golden Retriever will be murdered by the government. I must have missed that by-law in the Patriot Act.
Hey, if that's what floats their boat, then whatever; it's not my money (unless Low Budget Action Movie Budget Support was written into the stimulus bill). But the movie housing these points of view, simply put, sucks ass. It is soul-crushingly slow, sloppily written and devoid of any substantial action. Instead of gunplay or fist fighting (Wolfe enters an underground fighting match to get to one of the big cheeses, but we're denied a satisfying and much-needed bout), the "action" of Way of War is through dialogue, and poorly written dialogue at that. As far as I can tell, virtually all the writing is consumed with meaningless anecdotes, long-winded jokes designed to make an insightful statement about the nature of war, quotations from Sun Tzu and lines like "Without villains can there be heroes?" and "We gave up defending lady liberty a long time ago" and "Why is it we become like those we fight so hard to exterminate?" Ugh. By the way, those last two -- SPOILER ALERT -- are uttered by the Osama bin Laden knock-off who plays a pivotal role in the revelation of the conspiracy. Do you want to know what it is? OK, I'll tell you. You see, apparently the government manufactured al Qaeda and this bin Laden guy and the whole War on Terror so that we could have heroes or something. It's a real mind-blower of twist and something that may or may not have been culled from the fever swamps of tinfoil hat Internet forums.
A barren DVD for a barren film: the 2.35.1 anamorphic widescreen is clean and supported by 5.1 Dolby Digital surround and there are no extras.
I didn't like this movie. It was boring, stupid, cynical, and insulting.
Guilty. The accused is dishonorably discharged.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: First Look Pictures
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated R