Based on another comic series, this one by Steven Grant, what ‘2 Guns” provides to the summer movie season is a breathe of fresh air.
The movie stars Mark Wahlberg as “Stig” Stigman and Denzel Washington as Bobby Trench. What neither knows about the other is that they both work for a separate government agency, each with an ulterior motive for the operation the pair are running.
The film opens to Stig and Bobby preparing to rob a bank that they believe contains money from the Mexican cartel. After robbing the bank of the unexpected amount of cash, it’s only downhill for the pair from here. Stig’s Navy superiors want the money to fund an off the books war on the cartels and Trench’s DEA agency wants the cash as evidence in Papi Greco, the head of the cartel’s, trial. Upon the realization that the money was not the cartels, but rather the CIA’s, the pair has to find a way to return the money before the body count gets any higher. And those are just the tip of the iceberg by the time all the twists finally finish showing up. By the time the finale arrives, Stig and Trench have managed to get all three agencies and the cartel turned against each other for a wild shootout at a ranch in Mexico.
“2 Guns” is Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur’s third U.S. outing. Leaving the seriousness of his last two endeavors behind, Kormakur goes for silly, over the top and just a little bloody for a movie that takes the idea of “buddy cop” and gives it a new spin with these hunted agents.
This movie has quite a few things going for it. The most standout part of the film is the chemistry between Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington. The pair play off each other so perfectly, it’s a wonder we haven’t seen them together before, but will doubtlessly see them paired up again. They banter back and forth, both when each believes the other is a drug dealer and is getting ready to sell them out, and after their identities are uncovered and they reunited to take down their life threatening problems. Alongside the verbal comedy is the physical comedy, which between Wahlberg’s facial expressions and the pair’s general flailing about throwing punches and shooting guns, comes out as just another great aspect of this unusual pair.
Another thing going for it is the absence of CGI effects. Where many directors, most notable Michael Bay, make their explosions bigger and better with a bit of computer assistance, when Kormakur blows up a car or a building it’s the real deal and, even within a plot that demands a certain level of disbelief, gives the film that more realistic touch.
The only drawback here is what I have been praising other movies for their lack of in recent weeks: gratuitous nudity. While brief, actress Paula Patton goes topless in a scene, that really doesn’t warrant it, considering she’s still wearing bottoms, and in a subsequent scene is shows in a full set of lingerie. If Patton’ character had been say, a prostitute, as opposed to a double-crossing DEA agent, then perhaps it could be called warranted, or plot advancing. But she’s not, so it’s unnecessary to include in a film that has so much else going for it.
“2 Guns” has a blessedly short run time of an hour and fifty minutes. The movie keeps pace with itself, despite a plot throwing a new twist in every fifteen minutes, and is genuinely funny outside of the footage shown in the trailers and in the set that is Wahlberg and Washington.
I’m calling this an A. It’s fun, funny and wildly out of control. It’s also rated R for violence, language and brief nudity, but all in all, I think this deserves a fairly high ranking amongst this summer’s comedy movie list. Maybe even at the top