Mark Whalberg and Denzel Washington playing partners in crime but aren’t really criminals, stealing from crime lords and ginormous enterprises which all culminate to a shoot em up fest filled with plot contrivance and charm. …And there really are more than 2 guns. My review after the jump.
Bobby Trench (Washington) and Mchael ‘Stig Stigman (Whalberg) are two criminals who organise small time deals to earn cash for Greco (Edward James Osmos) who pays them handsomely in cash or even coke. They’re also buddies, which they’ll never admit given their egos, but they have fun breaking whatever laws are available. After one too many underwhelming pay days from the violent and aggressive kingpin, they decide to expand their horizons and steal from Greco. Two things result from such an ambitious endeavour, 1. They don’t steal his money, they steal from someone far greater and more unpredictably violent; and 2.), its of course revealed that both men indeed aren’t who they say they are and the money is anything but a pay off. Added to the mix is Deb (Paula Patton), working on a case to bring down Greco. The men’s friendship/partnership is tested and they must work together (despite any reservations) in order to retrieve the money and stomp out the bad guys; and of course, above all, two guns (and more) do indeed go off.
Whatever you do, do not watch the trailer to this film as you will then have seen a large majority of the film which over elaborates the plot synopsis above, in great, great detail.
There’s something fascinating, to one who loves action films, as to what constitutes a good one these days. In my opinion it’s the presence of anything organic, from the story to the chemistry between the leads to a sense of humour that isn’t forced. 2 Guns has all three, even if its story is incredibly contrived, it indeed exists and it progresses at a solid pace. The compatibility of Whalberg and Washington is the real reason why the film works the way it does. 2 Guns is a solid action film that does everything in its power to be “old school”, e.g organic. From being shot on beautiful 35mm to minimal use of CGI (blood, explosions or otherwise) and above all, the patience given to both protagonists and their interactions. Action films are all about human commonality and partnership, not just the violence. 2 Guns understands this.
2 Guns does not falter in its performances, nor in Baltasar Kormakur’s direction, but like most action films, it fails with its women, or in this case, woman. The character of Deb, exists purely as eye candy and as a plot contrivance. She bares skin for no real reason and is in many ways the damsel in distress. Had her character been developed into something of worth and substance based on her independence, 2 Guns would indeed be remembered as a damn good action picture that adores the genre as a film of its ilk should, but alas it detracts heavily and what results is a good, but not great film.
As for the villains, they speak in convention and lather themselves in ham, are they believable enough despite indeed being ridiculous? Most certainly, their motivations are simple and their method compliments their madness in a grounded way. Whatever over complications that could have been incorporated with their characters is instead added to the plot, which also works, somehow. Nevertheless a good film exists here, it revels more in character interaction rather than spectacle and for that, 2 Guns is indeed worth seeing.
By Chris Elena
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Writer(s): Blake Masters (screenplay)
Starring: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton
Runtime: 109 minutes
Release date(s): Australia & New Zealand: October 10 2013