Starring: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton
Genre: Action/ Comedy/ Denzel being Denzel
Undercover DEA agent Robert ‘Bobby’ Trench (Washington) and also undercover naval intelligence officer Michael ‘Stig’ Stigman (Wahlberg) are on a mission to bring justice down on notorious mob boss Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos). They are both unaware that the other is undercover, and so assumes each other to be merely criminals, however when robbing a bank to get money that can incriminate Papi Greco things do not go according plan, revealing that (surprise, surprise) they have both been set up. They have also in the process upset senior corrupt CIA official Earl (Bill Paxton). So, with everyone wanting them dead, the money missing, not knowing if they can trust one another and Denzel’s outrageous taste in fashion, expect banter, violence and a plethora of plot twists.
Despite this being based on a graphic novel, the main concept behind 2 Guns is not exactly original. Chalk and cheese characters that have to work together after both being set up, we could list our own examples. So, what does 2 Guns bring that is new to an overstuffed genre? Well, apart from Denzel’s questionable choice in hats and loud shirts, the answer is very little. It seems that to make amends, screen writer Blake Masters tries to add as many increasingly ridiculous twists and turns as he can, leaving an at times exhausting plot that can at times be hard to follow and leaves increasingly big holes and truly asks for us to take a leap of faith with it.
Another challenge with a genre peace like 2 Guns is that balancing humour and violence, especially involving corrupt navy and CIA officers (trained killers) and drug cartels is extremely difficult. Though there is some great humour and some great action set pieces, they do inevitably feel like they have been cut and pasted together more as part of a checklist than a coherent well written narrative whole.
All that said, 2 Guns will never win prizes for originality or great artistic writing, but it is most definitely outrageous fun. Naturally a film of this nature relies heavily on its actors, and the cast do not disappoint. Washington and Wahlberg are having an absolute blast, and the two of them share fantastic chemistry that makes the 108 minutes positively fly by. When enjoying themselves, these two are undoubtedly charismatic screen presences, and it is impossible not to be sucked in by the outrageous fun. At times the lazy writing relies on their natural charisma, but they truly pull it off, making the increasingly outrageous plot developments and inevitable banter all that more fun. In a supporting role, Edward James Olmos gives depth to what would otherwise be a cardboard cut out bad guy, while Bill Paxton chews the desert scenery so much that surely he had aching jaw muscles after filming. 2 Guns is a pure Saturday night movie that never takes itself seriously, it is always extremely entertaining and its flaws are forgivable due to the fact it is so much fun.
Unoriginal in concept and increasingly ridiculous in execution, 2 Guns is an immensely enjoyable buddy movie featuring two perfectly suited leading performances. Though it will not last long in the memory, in never taking itself too seriously this is up there as both the easiest to watch and most genuinely entertaining 108 minutes of the year.