2 Guns (2013)


Untitled-1Nearly every review of 2 Guns I’ve read so far has pointed out that there are in fact more than two guns in the movie, so I don’t see the point in reiterating past observations. Although I must say, by looking at the movie’s poster and the way both Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg are facing away from each other, it is certainly implied that their guns aren’t the only ones. Otherwise who are they aiming at?

2 Guns is a confusing movie with lovely characters. It’s about corrupt government agencies trying to trip each other’s legs and come out with 43 million dollars in Mexican Cartel drug money. Caught in the middle are our two heroes, Bobby Trench (Washington) and Michael Stigman (Wahlberg). One’s an undercover DEA agent, and the other’s an ex-Navy Petty Officer trying to earn his way back into the force. Caught in the middle of them is a sexy lady named Deb (Paula Patton), who used to love Bobby, or meant to love him, and is now creating lovey dovey with another man. All three characters are fun to watch, Bobby and Michael especially. They trade insults easily and without hesitation, and the chemistry they share is reminiscent of the strong rapport between Wahlberg and Will Ferrell in The Other Guys. The only difference is Denzel Washington’s character isn’t a bumbling doofus.

I must say I’ve grown tired of buddy cop action movies that favour crude jokes and dwell on insults that involve genitalia. I believe I mentioned this in my review of We’re The Millers, also out this year. What is it with genitalia? Why are adults so fascinated by it, and why do we find it funny when testicles or penises get whacked? Man, I don’t know. Some of it is funny, but when there’s too much, I am forcefully reminded of mankind’s constant desire to live, breathe, and think like little children. There aren’t many of these kinda jokes in 2 Guns, which is good, but there’s enough to make them noticeable — there’s something about a henchman looking like the devil’s asshole. Most of these jokes come out of Wahlberg, who seems to be playing the same version of himself in all his recent movies. Washington on the other hand doesn’t seem like he belongs in a bang bang shoot shoot movie like this, but he does his best, and, boy, does he know how to improvise an escape route out of a U.S. Navy base.

The plot involves these two men robbing a bank. The bank, as they know it, belongs to the Cartel, and the money they want should add up to approximately 3 million smackeroos. When they do eventually rob the place, in scary masks that are among the best I’ve ever seen, they end up stealing upwards of 40 million. Where did the other 37 come from? Ah! That’s what they have to find out. And then they have to find out how to save their own asses and walk away with at least some of the money. Thrown into this mix is Bill Paxton, who steals every scene he’s in as a no-nonsense Texan hoodlum, Edward James Olmos as Papi Greco, leader of the Cartel, and James Marsden as a corrupt Naval officer who wants to use the money to fund covert operations. The CIA is involved too. It’s a whole mish-mash of backstabbings, greed, corruption, and destruction. I got lost somewhere in the middle, and my trusty guide Wikipedia had to help me back on track. Why, for example, did Bobby and Michael get teamed up together in the first place?

The movie is directed by the Icelandic Baltasar Kormákur, whose 2012 Contraband also features drugs and Mark Wahlberg. He paints quite a beautiful picture here with 2 Guns, though a little less green screen never hurt anybody. He should have looked to Skyfall for inspiration on how to film car chases; Skyfall’s technique is flawless. It allows the actors to do their job while an external stunt driver steers the car from a rig above. Imagine if such technology had been around since the days of the rolling background. We’d never have gotten that hilarious Airplane! parody in which Robert Stack drives first down a straight road, then speeds down a winding one, and then drives away from chasing horsemen all in the same scene.

Best Moment | Many of Washington’s and Wahlberg’s lines.

Worst Moment | Can’t think of one.


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