A stripped-down action comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington
The movie title could have sprung from the mind of one of Mark Wahlberg’s expanding gallery of macho dimbulbs: 'If all you need to make a film is a girl and a gun, how about we use two guns?' But it also feels like Walter Hill – veteran action director and unofficial godfather of the squabbling buddy picture – might approve of the stripped-down, Ronseal-esque sentiment, even if the execution is over-elaborate.
Set in the familiar movie world of violent drug shenanigans on the US/Mexico border, the chief pleasure of 2 Guns is the interplay between smooth, gold-toothed fixer Bobby (Denzel Washington) and volatile scrapper Stig (Wahlberg). First, they bicker and bond as plausible mid-level crims planning an audacious bank heist. Then, after a double-cross that makes them belatedly realise they’re both good guys working undercover, they fractiously reteam to take down both a notorious druglord (Edward James Olmos, looking as dapper as the late Alan Whicker) and an ominous company man (Bill Paxton, who manages to freshen up the old Russian roulette routine).
Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur, who previously worked with Wahlberg on the low-budget but lucrative Contraband, seems hell-bent on servicing the convoluted plot, taken from a graphic novel series. The succession of betrayals, realignments and triple-crosses saps some of the easygoing energy from Washington and Wahlberg’s hangout scenes.
But Kormákur knows to stage an action sequence, and there’s an unexpectedly hilarious interrogation in a garage equipped with a motion-sensor light. The action builds to a Mexican stand-off between multiple sides that almost echoes the legendary local news battle royale from Anchorman. It’s a shame, though, that Paula Patton, who demonstrated some serious ass-kicking skills in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, is sidelined as the one girl amid the gunplay.
General release from Fri 16 Aug.