2 Guns is the latest summer action/comedy film to sneak up out of nowhere and deliver about an hour and a half of good old-fashioned fun. 2 Guns isn’t a film that shocks or surprises with its clever dialog or gracious violence, but it is a film that delivers two steady performances from Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, while also maintaining a constant feeling of simple, yet effective fun. 2 Guns is the perfect rental.
Bobby Trench (Denzel Washington) is an undercover DEA agent that’s working with an undercover naval intelligence officer named Michael Stigman (Mark Wahlberg). The two don’t know that they’re both undercover, which means that Bobby is cooking up a bust with his fellow officers, while Stigman is doing the exact same with his Navy friends.
Both plan on letting the other one take the fall for it, but once the bank robbery goes down they quickly realize that they’ve both bitten off much more than they can chew. Trench and Stigman both get setup and double-crossed by a long line of dirty cops, officers, agents and drug cartels, resulting in both men being on the run for one reason or another.
And this is where 2 Guns both gets interesting and confusing. The film benefits from having enough to talk about. There’s always something happening, which means that stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg always have something to do. This keeps 2 Guns moving for a majority of the time, while also causing the film to be a bit too much at times.
See, the film works at its best when it’s taken as a simple, but fun action flick, yet sometimes it forgets what kind of film it is and attempts to go off on a much more intricate path. 2 Guns never works as a film that needs to be taken seriously, which is why director Baltasar Kormákur‘s end product is received with very mixed reactions.
On one hand you have Washington and Wahlberg displaying excellent chemistry as the film’s two leads, while on the other you have a very basic action film, constructed with not a single shred of excitement. 2 Guns is so damn simple, yet it gets by on that simplicity.
Washington and Wahlberg are the only two reasons for this film’s existence. Washington is channeling a mix of his Safe House bad ass persona with a much lighter version of something he would have played in Inside Man. This works, because it shows that Washington can be funny, yet still an intimating cool cat that gets the women and kills the bad guys.
Wahlberg balances a mixture of his past roles too. Half of the film he’s acting like a sly quick draw that can hold his own in a firefight, while the other half of the film he’s channeling a less dumb version of his Pain & Gain self. He’s that idiot character that isn’t completely fried in the brain, but has his fair share of “are you seriously that dumb?” moments.
These two blend together without a single rough spot, proving that two actors can make an otherwise generically structured film work very well in some areas.
Bill Paxton‘s short, but sweet turn as one of the film’s bad guys is also a highlight of the film, even though he doesn’t get nearly enough time to expand on his character. It’s mostly an afterthought, but still one of the film’s brighter spots when excluding Washington and Wahlberg’s ace efforts.
Baltasar Kormákur‘s direction is mostly soft and uninteresting. He has yet to impress me and 2 Guns won’t be changing my feelings for him just yet. It’s much better than Contraband, but not so much because of his direction and more so the talent that he was able to acquire. 2 Guns is much lighter and more fun than Contraband and that’s because of Wahlberg and Washington completely owning the film from top to bottom.
There’s not a whole lot of action in the film, which makes 2 Guns more of a comedy than a straight-forward action. The film’s also quite tame for an R-rated project, earning most of its rating with its use of profanity and not so much the blood and violence. There is violence, but it’s mostly quick and mostly forgettable.
2 Guns is an end of the summer action film that promises nothing but simple fun. And it mostly delivers. Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington are the shining stars of the film, while Bill Paxton drops an unexpected and great cameo role as one of the film’s dozen bad guys. Baltasar Kormákur‘s film could benefit from a much tighter plot, with a stronger focus, but as is the film still has enough enjoyable moments to make it worth a watch at some point in time.
2 Guns – 7/10