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Monday, December 9, 2013

2 Guns 2013 * * Stars

Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Year: 2013
Rated: R
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington, Bill Paxton

If I had the power to rename the film 2 Guns, I'd change it to "2000 Guns". Every single frame is filled to the brim with them (all kinds too). Not only are the weapons in this flick used to kill people (obviously), they're also used for good old fashioned torture. Yeah, 2 Guns is a so called action comedy and it's completely out of control. As I viewed this bullet ridden, macho laden, testosterone filled, bloated mess of an exercise, I started to try and keep track of certain things. However, I lost count. I couldn't tell you how many times someone pointed a gun at someone else (complete with nasty threats too) and I couldn't for the life of me, keep track of how many times a character said, "where's the money?" or "where's my money?" Added to that, I also had my head spinning trying to keep track of how many times the main characters weaseled their way of trouble or certain death (I'm thinking a handful of Mexican standoffs went down during all this). So OK, one word basically describes 2 Guns: preposterous. It has a plot that is so muddled and so unbelievably elaborate at the same time. It has your standard buddy action cliches that run rampant all throughout. And it has the leads, Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg trying to reinvent a now tired genre. They have a small amount of screen chemistry but to be frank, we've seen it all before. And it has been done better countless times over.

With three different sets of villains and virtually no one to trust (no one is safe in this film and the police are hardly anywhere to be found), 2 Guns tells the story of an undercover (possibly former) Naval Intelligence Officer (Michael Stigman played by Mark Wahlberg) and an undercover DEA agent (Robert Trench played by Denzel Washington with his typical flair) who pose as criminals (whatever) and rob a bank for two different reasons. Stigman is trying to get reinstated as an officer by deliver the money to his commanding superiors. This is to be done so that the Navy can illegally contribute to fund certain covert operations. Denzel's character, well he has to acquire the loot so he can have enough evidence to prosecute drug lord Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos) for money laundering (you have to view this movie in order for it to make sense and I would advise against viewing 2 Guns in general). This sets off a chain of events when the robbery goes afoul and Stigman and Trench blow their cover (not to the bad guys mind you, but to each other). Here's the part of 2 Guns that really turns me off. The subsequent heroes that you're supposed to root for (Stigman and Trench) become more unlikable as the film glides by. By the end, you want them to be put in jail because they become almost as cold and ruthless as everyone else.

To sum things up, there's no real reason to see this film unless you're a Denzel Washington fan. He's still the coolest dude in the room no matter what (he's even got a cool walk that is displayed in all his other movies. It's still cool, trust me.). Wahlberg, well he's popping up in everything these days and his outright screen presence is beginning to annoy me. He needs to be a little pickier about his projects. On a slightly more positive note, I do suppose the film's eye candy, Paula Patton, might become a big star one day. And maybe it was fun to see Edward James Olmos and Bill Paxton take on villainous roles (Paxton overdoes it though as a ruthless bank owner with a painfully, tired southern accent). But all in all, 2 Guns is "too much." It's not quite original enough to wow you (despite the endless pyrotechnics) and it's too mean spirited for you to care about anyone involved. In the first half of the film, "Stig" (Wahlberg) says to Bobby (Washington), "did you miss me?" For me, that wouldn't be a difficult question to answer. Do I miss the good old days when buddy action movies mattered? Yes. Will I ever miss this flashy mash up of overindulgence? No way.

Written by Jesse Burleson 

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