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USA 20113
Directed by
Baltasar Kormakur
109 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

2 Guns

The opening scene of 2 Guns has Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg sitting in a dustbowl diner on the American side of the US-Mexico border exchanging some Tarantino-esque banter before blowing it, the diner, up in order to create a diversion from the bank robbery they are about to commit. It is a frank promise of what is to come. Well, except for (I rarely say things like this but it’s justified) the insanely sexy Paula Patton.

2 Guns is about a pair of undercover agents, Bobby Beans (Denzel Washington) and Stig (Mark Wahlberg), neither of whom is aware of the other’s real identity. They have arrived in town to rob the bank in which, Stig believes, Mexican drug cartel lord, Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos) stashes his money. Much to their surprise, instead of the $3m they were expecting, they make off with $43.125m. Are they in trouble? They don't know the meaning of the word.

Smartly-written by Blake Masters who based his script on a series of  graphic novels by Steven Grant and directed with tongue-in-cheek hyperbole by Balthasar Kormákur, 2 Guns is an action movie for people who don’t usually watch action movies. Which is to say that the stunts aren’t CGI’d beyond any realm of possibility, there’s some wit in the dialogue and, best of all, some actual acting.

The latter is largely down to Washington who has been in more than his fair share of action movies but none as comedically-inclined as this. Here he brings both humour and pathos to his role giving it substance it would otherwise probably have lacked. Wahlberg on the other hand is in his element as Bobby’s joshing odd-couple buddy. Olmos, looking like Carlos Santana on the way to his daughter's wedding,  is not particularly convincing as a drug baron and James Marsden is mis-cast as Stig’s boss but Bill Paxton is effective as the nasty CIA agent on the tail of our two heroes. Patton is there strictly for the purposes of titillation.

Sometimes the film misses a beat. For example, Patton’s Lady Godiva hair, Marsden fumbling for a hand gun, Olmos’s last line “Mow my lawn” and Bobby and Stig wrestling in the dust. Was this supposed to indicate that Stig had a man-crush on Bobby? Either way it was the funniest scene in the film. What was intended or otherwise and whether the ambiguity itself was intended is not easy to decide. Was Deb’s imaginary friend, Harvey, a reference to James Stewart’s 1950 film of the same name. I can’t say but 2 Guns is fun and clearly that was its intention.




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