2 GunsThursday 15 Aug 2013
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Starring: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Bill Paxton, James Marsden, Paula Patton, Edward James Olmos
Duration: 109 minutes
For some reason, the idea of Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington in a buddy movie seems a tad bizarre. Although both actors have starred in their fare share of action films, the idea of the guy from Ted working with the badass dodgy detective from Training Day just seems too weird to imagine. But, like a cheese and jam sandwich, the combination just works.
Bobby Trench (Washington) and Michael Stigman (Wahlberg) seem like your typical criminal duo who like to set fires and cut deals with Mexican drug lords. When they fail to get what they are promised, they devise a plan to hold up a local bank where a cartel boss, Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos), has $3m stashed away. In more ways than one, Trench and Stigman are not just your run-of-the-mill bank robbers.
It is at this point that I will hand out my first warning about 2 Guns – it's complicated. As well as the name-dropping of several different branches of American law-enforcement every two minutes, trying to keep track of whose side everyone is on is more than a little confusing, so much so that a diagram wouldn't have gone amiss on one or two occasions.
Although the plot is convoluted in the extreme, the ridiculousness of the backstabbing and double-crossing actually adds to the comedy and leaves you genuinely clueless as to how this caper is going to turn out.
In-fact, the absence of any real 'good-guys' in 2 Guns makes it difficult to really root for anyone to succeed at all. Obviously, the idea is that you should be behind Trench and Stig all the way, but just when you start believing in these two you get a flashback to the opening scene where the heartless pair set Mama Maybell's Diner on fire. It is hard to be on the side of two arsonists who have destroyed some poor old woman's livelihood for no good reason.
Despite Trench and Stig's less-than-favourable personality traits, Washington and Wahlberg do a stellar job and make their partnership believable. Most importantly, the pair seem to have genuinely enjoyed working with each other, which makes for some really fantastic on-screen chemistry.
Another huge asset to 2 Guns is Bill Paxton as sadistic CIA operative Earl, whose favourite way to pass the time is a kneecap-exploding game of Russian Roulette. Paxton really does wonders with his rather uninspired script. Like Washington and Wahlberg, it is his charisma that holds the film together.
Like so many other buddy films, 2 Guns falls victim to the clichés of this tired and overdone genre, but even though we've seen this set-up before, we have not always seen it done this well (Rush Hour 3, I'm looking at you).
2 Guns won't go down in history alongside genre heavyweights like Lethal Weapon and 48 Hours - it's the kind of film you've forgotten you've seen when the ad comes on TV - but despite firing a few blanks, the majority of the time it's bang on target.