Friday, June 13, 2014

2 Guns: Under-Promise, Over-Deliver.

Movie Review: 2 Guns

Director: Baltasar Kormákur

Reviewed: 10 June 2014

jamesintexas rating-- ***

Chemistry is a tricky thing to define: Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg have it in 2 Guns as Bobby and Stig, mismatched double-crossed partners who take on the world in this surprisingly fun action film. Both actors work best in quick dialogue scenes: ordering breakfast at a diner, verbally jabbing at each other in a car, or working in tandem through an earpiece with one across the street covering with a sniper rifle. Bobby is nearly always the smartest guy in the room, steps ahead of his adversaries, fully planned out for all contingencies. Stig, in contrast, seems to thrive on sheer optimism and gumption. Wahlberg plays him as an overgrown child, one who never even considers the possibility of thinks not working out. Together, they are a marvelous pair, and the actors appear to be having fun with each other and a deep cast of supporting players such as Paula Patton, Edward James Olmos, Bill Paxton, and James Marsden.

The plot involves the DEA, the Navy, the cartel, and numerous exciting chases through South Texas and Mexico. The less said, the better to fully enjoy the film. Naturally, there are many shoot-outs and chases, slow-motion sequences with raging music, as well as some particularly nasty villains. Without knowing anything about this director Kormákur or the source material (apparently, a graphic novel), I was pleasantly surprised and would be very inclined to see further adventures with Bobby and Stig based on the fun way this movie is put together and shot. Scene after scene works. In general, the film offers up a fairly world-weary, cynical take on its own genre with the American government as likely to be the bad guys as the cartel.

My esteem for this film diminished a bit in the second half when it became more conventional and less interesting. But until then, 2 Guns had me laughing, enjoying the action scenes, and admiring the cinematography. The glibness jars a bit with the violent consequences meted out to major characters, but I think the pairing of the two leads carries the day. Bottom line: This movie is flat-out fun and violent with plenty of humor that works.

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