Denzel Washington an actor whose name can easily crowd a theater within minutes. Mark Wahlberg another man whose popularity is skyrocketing in the countless roles he has landed. What happens when you make a movie that pulls these two together? You get five consecutive sold out shows, at least in the town I’m in at the moment. Robbie K here with the latest review for you, this time focusing on the latest Comedy/Action/Crime film simply dubbed 2 Guns. Can this dynamic duo of popular stars open the month with a good film, or have we got another mindless comedy to occupy an already saturated market.
You may have seen the trailer a number of times, 2 Guns opens awkwardly with the stars at a doughnut shop before robbing a bank. After what looks to be a simple heist, the two get in a fight over the newly stolen money, revealing their secret jobs and leading to a whole lot of confusion and the promise of an interesting story. Well guess what, the film opens up pretty much like that only a lot slower at first. 2 Guns takes quite a bit to set up the operation, surprisingly introducing some big key players in a sluggish pace. When the robbery occurs thirty minutes later, the pace picks up and the story finally starts to kick off… until it once again hits a wall and starts to drag. Soon the movie is about an hour in and the mystery behind the crime starts to set into place, (something I figured out about twenty minutes early), into a surprisingly shallow and lackluster explanation that for me was disappointing in so many ways. With a crime movie I expect more motive, more suspense, and more mystery, but this movie removed a lot of that and gave a thin skeleton of a plot. Some may say it’s real, and too the point, but reality doesn’t mean it has to be simple, since many government agent roles rarely are.
Oh well, perhaps the action that has become associated with Denzel and guns will carry the story’s lacking edge and twist. In a way this movie stays true to the star’s usual action in the more strategic and less trigger-happy sense. His character’s resourcefulness and smarts are his best weapon, and the gun is more of a backup to not only add more bite, but also create more “suspense” to keep you on edge. Wahlberg has bit more of the itching finger in this movie, his character ready to unleash a world of hurt (or death) upon an emotionless extra as they walk among the arid desert towns and plains. The big strength of this approach is the action is built in as a support to the story and renew our attention in the film. A car chase here, a small exchange of fire there, and you get some brief distractions that get you excited and build up anticipation for the ending. The last ten-fifteen minutes are where the safeties come off and the bullets go flying as the excitement you’ve been waiting for unleashes. Though very ridiculous, the action fits with the characters and allows fans of our team to release their tension as they cheer, or laugh, at modernized cowboy fight. Unfortunately it ends so quickly and you might sit there wondering what just happened, and perhaps like me wishing that scene had arrived thirty minutes earlier.
What is the saving grace of this film for me is the teamwork, character, and dialog between Wahlberg and Washington. The character developing team nailed these parts down; making two icons that will appeal to a lot of fans and then casting the duo to bring them life. Washington’s rugged attitude, serious nature, prestige atmosphere and sarcastic delivery are beautifully blended into one heck of an agent. His response to the various tragedies is hysterical, his face clearly mirroring the surprise at the awkward situations he is put in. Despite the countless threats, blackmails, and hostage situations, Washington’s character is still as calm and collected as ever, often bluntly stating some witty remark that makes you laugh and ticks off the villains. Then they throw in some highly skilled, DEA moves and make him not only funny, but deadly as well, rounding out the character in the process. All of this makes for a great character to guide you through the movie.
Denzel is only half the chemistry that works though, as Wahlberg’s character is the yang to his yen. The navy seal agent tends to rush into things, often with excitement of an attention challenged kid, hopped up on sugar, and playing a video game. Wahlberg throws out jokes left and right, his dialogue is jammed with so many quotes that will have fans referencing it for weeks to come. I felt that the timing for the jokes was well done, and these insults were not only diverse, but also spaced out enough to allow for it to remain funny and not be annoying. Also Wahlberg says some off the wall things that are so far out you can’t help but wonder where the inspiration came from. Yet what makes him even funnier is the fact that he is partnered with a very collected Denzel whose calm nature contradicts him so well and sets up Wahlberg for a lot of zings. The interaction between the two also felt natural as well, as if the two’s partnership had been present ever since their career started, though that’s not the case. Regardless, these two were well casted for the roles and perhaps 95% of the reason to go see this movie.
The only other thing to warn you about is some torture/hostage scenes. 2 Guns is loaded with bullets into the body, guns held at the temple, and a little inhumane action towards animals. Now this is nothing compared to some horror movies, Hostel and the Human Centipede to name a few, but still those with weak constitutions should hold out. Exercise caution when taking your family, in particular little kids, as there is some choice insults that involve the reproductive areas being either taken off or shoved into particular places.
This movie is fun and funny in many ways, but don’t expect it to be a masterpiece of action and story. As I’ve mentioned plenty of times Washington and Wahlberg were a huge asset, not only for getting the crowd, but also for designing fun characters that go back to classic comedy styles. If you’re looking for a good entertainment movie, this is a good choice I feel, but if those looking for a bit more plot and action skip it for now and gear up for Elysium. My scores are the following:
Action/Crime/Comedy: 7.0 (more for comedy)
Movie Overall: 6.0