Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by director Doug
Liman and screenwriter Simon Kinberg. Audio commentary by producers
Lucas Foster and Akiva Goldsman. 3 deleted scenes. Making a scene
(8 mins). Teaser trailer. Theatrical trailer. Inside Look: The
AT A time when summer blockbusters seem to be pre-occupied with
the end of the world, delving into history or exploring the origins
of super-heroes, it's refreshing to find one that is content to
deal with 'mundane' issues such as marital stress.
Step forward Mr and Mrs Smith, a 'typical' suburban couple (albeit
hopelessly beautiful), who seem to be experiencing the sort of
trouble and strife that threatens to wreck many a modern relationship.
The spark has gone from their marriage, they have become virtual
strangers in their own home and have been forced into 'couples
therapy' in a bid to reconcile their differences.
Oh, and they both just happen to be hired assassins without any
clue of each other's line of work.
When both get assigned to the same mission by their respective
agencies, however, Mr and Mrs Smith suddenly find themselves faced
with the prospect of killing each other, prompting the inevitable
battle of wits as they bid to salvage their 'failed relationship'
while dodging their own bullets.
Doug Liman's excellent urban comedy thriller plays out like a
deranged cross between The War of the Roses and True Lies with
plenty of twists and turns of its own.
It features a couple of enormously fun central performances from
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, whose chemistry is incendiary, as
well as some expertly choreographed action sequences and a script
that hits the target almost every time.
What's more, it doesn't outstay its
welcome, maintaining its momentum pretty much throughout, and
emerging as one of the most shamelessly enjoyable 'popcorn' movies
of recent times.
Liman has consistently proved himself capable of transforming
seemingly routine premises into effortlessly crowd-pleasing movies
(witness The Bourne Identity
and Swingers) and repeats the trick here, infusing proceedings
with a knowing sense of fun that translates well to the audience.
Both of his leads seem to be having a blast, with Pitt, especially,
displaying a nice line in self-deprecating humour, and Jolie relishing
the opportunity to smoulder while kicking butt in a way that her
Tomb Raider persona never
Several of the scenes between the two provide highlights, whether
it's watching them 'kick the hell' out of each other during an
overblown punch-up, or discussing marital concerns with their
Yet with Simon Kinberg's sharp script to guide them, the banter
comes as thick and fast as the bullets - and is equally explosive.
Vince Vaughn crops up, too, as Pitt's best friend and colleague,
shamelessly stealing some of the film's most laugh-out-loud moments.
And when the talking stops and the mayhem begins, it maintains
the tongue-in-cheek tone of proceedings.
A car chase on a freeway is one of several stand-out sequences,
while the shoot-em-up finale feels like a two-way homage to the
balletic excess of John Woo and the classic style of Butch Cassidy
and the Sundance Kid.
The only disappointment is that the film ends a little too suddenly,
pulling the plug with a few too many loose ends.
But it's a small price to pay for such an engaging affair that
provides some much-needed therapy from the stresses and strains
of everyday life.