2 Guns

2 Guns
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Movie detail

Rating: 3 out of 5
Length: 109 minutes
Release Date: August 2, 2013
Directed by: Baltasar Korm-kur
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime



Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg are fearsome actors in their own right, but when they team up together in “2 Guns,” they bring a large dose of cool and charisma to the big screen. The movie is billed as an action film, but it’s more than that. “2 Guns” pays props to hit movies like “48 Hours” and “Lethal Weapon” by taking an action-packed story line and mixing in a bit of slapstick comedy and guy buddy repartee.

The story begins when Bobby Trench (Denzel Washington) and Michael Stigman (Mark Wahlberg), known simply as Stig, team up to rob a bank in a small town in Mexico. Their goal is to take the $3 million stashed there by Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos), a notorious Mexican drug kingpin. Instead of the $3 million the expected to find, they wind up with a stash of $43 million that belongs to Earl (Bill Paxton), a sadistic CIA agent gone rogue.

Although the duo believe each other to be criminals, they each are undercover agents working for the authorities. Trench is an undercover operative for the Drug Enforcement Administration who is working a case under the authority of his boss and ex-girlfriend, Deb (Paula Patton). Wahlberg is an ex-Navy agent working a case for Admiral Tawney (Fred Ward). The two team up in an attempt to out-think and out-run Earl, the drug cartel, and the CIA, who are also after the money.

What ensues is a series of double-crosses after double-crosses and corruption showing up at every end of the spectrum to the point where the movie stops being believable and becomes a true action-comedy flick instead. Fortunately, director Baltasar Korm-kur doesn’t allow the movie to take itself too seriously, and the result is a fun-filled thrill ride across the Mexican border.

The male camaraderie and rapport between the two male leads is palpable, completely lifting the film out of what could have been a sure B-movie status. While the buddy-and-cop routine the two play has been done many times before, their perfect delivery is so well done that you may forget you’ve ever seen this type of comedy done before.

The story is based on a novel and screenplay by Blake Masters. He uses coarse language and strong banter that is perfectly executed by Washington and Wahlberg, precisely playing to both of their strengths.

Director Baltasar Korm-kur is a native of Reykjavik, Iceland, who began his movie career as a bit actor in the early 1990s. He started working as a producer by the late 1990s, and moved on to directing in 2000. Although his directing experience is rather limited, he has worked on popular films such as “The Deep,” “Contraband,” and “Inhale.”

Denzel Washington needs no introduction. Since he began his acting career in 1974, he has managed to win two Oscars; one for his role in the 1989 hit “Glory” and the second for the lead role in the 2001 film “Training Day.” Washington has also taken home an additional sixty-four awards and has garnered seventy-six more nominations.

Although he has played characters in countless movies, he is best known for his role as Dr. Jerome Davenport in “Antwone Fisher,” Coach Herman Boone in “Remember the Titans,” Malcom X in “Malcolm X,” John Quincy Archibald in “John Q,” and Gray Grantham in “The Pelican Brief.” He also had a recurring role in the 1980s hit television series “St. Elsewhere,” which is one of the few times he took on a television role.

Mark Wahlberg’s brash personality and sublimely timed delivery makes the perfect complement to Washington’s calm, cool demeanor. The much-younger Wahlberg didn’t start his acting career until 1993, but he was able to hold his own when paired with Denzel Washington. Wahlberg has been nominated for two Oscars plus an additional thirty-six nominations and seventeen award wins.

Like Washington, Wahlberg has stayed primary on the silver screen, with only a few made-for-television movies and one television series, “Entourage,” under his belt. Some of his most memorable films included “Renaissance Man,” “Boogie Nights,” “The Perfect Storm,” “Date Night,” and “Contraband.”

The villains in “2 Guns” are plentiful. Edward James Olmos plays the drug kingpin, the least fearsome of the villains. Although he is well-known for his dramatic roles, in this movie he shows off his comedic chops. Bill Paxton, the rogue CIA agent, turns his character into a caricature of a bad guy instead of the evil, devilish persona his character seems to want to become. James Marsden breaks out of his meek and mild demeanor to transform himself into a rough-and-tumble Navy outlier, and he absolutely nails the character.

On the heels of a number of disappointing actions movies, “2 Guns” is one that is a must-see. Even those who are not fans of action movies will find themselves laughing as they become totally immersed in the story and the performances given by Wahlberg and Washington.

Having Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg can make all the difference sometimes, especially in an action movie with a title like “2 Guns”. It’s like calling a western “50 Horses”, you wonder how much thought actually went into it. It’s no surprise that these two, slumming though they may be, turn in two charismatic performances, or that there are 2 guns, plus several others, throughout the proceedings to make this go down easy. But it’s innocuous enough to just make you want to wait for DVD.

Washington plays Bobby, a DEA agent who has spent years in the Mexican underworld trying to get close to drug kingpin Papi (Edward James Olmos). In his travels he has somehow picked up Stig (Wahlberg), who he thinks is just a small-time hood. Bobby’s plan is to rob a bank in order to grab evidence from Papi’s safety deposit box and he will need to Stig in order to do it, and once all is said and done he really doesn’t care if Stig goes down for the crime afterwards.

The one thing he doesn’t know about Stig though is that he is an AWOL-Navy man, working a secret operation in order to return to active duty. When the dust from the robbery settles, Bobby winds up shot in the shoulder and Stig disappears with the 43 million dollars they got from the bank. In addition to pissing off each other, they also have a sect of the Navy, Papi, and a slithery CIA Pitbull (Bill Paxton) all after the money, and them. With no other choice, they must team up.

There’s non-stop banter between Washington and Wahlberg, with Wahlberg as the smack-talker to Washington’s calmer presence, except very little of it is actually funny. The script by Blake Marsters still thinks there’s juice left in the cops like donuts gag and uses it many a time, but riffs about eating pancakes and shooting chickens barely hit either. Yet both actors give it their cool, fast-talking best and manage a few good ones.

The guys are also involved in shoot-outs where they fire guns side by side amidst raining money and where supposedly trained gun-men with high-powered weapons try to shoot them and still miss, while car chases and games of Russian roulette are played out but are never given any doubt to their outcomes by Wahlberg’s “Contraband” director Baltasar Kormakur. At least it’s all done with some style and an eye for location.

Adapted from a graphic novel by Steven Grant, “2 Guns” begins far-fetched and basically continues on that track with double-crosses, triple crosses, and characters who are eventually very sorry for their crosses, except too late. But don’t let all that fool you. Even “2 Guns” could care less about its plot. It’s a pretty simple experience of going through the motions and enjoying what little good Washington and Wahlberg can make out of it. They try, but it’s not enough to recommend.

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