2 Guns is an empty action flick
2 Guns is the kind of generic buddy action/comedy that doesn’t have the decency to match the talents of its stars nor is it so laughingly bad that there’s some entertainment value in mocking it.
Nope, what we’re left with instead is a predictably stale take on the familiar bickering duo format where the unlikely partners spend half as much time fighting each other as their opponents. Yawn. And such an uneventful outing really seems beneath Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, the latter of whom recently appeared in a film with a dry humping teddy bear.
Action/buddy comedies should most of all be fun, but this one gets bogged down early on with a dizzying plot of secrets, broken alliances and double-crossing that’s more needlessly complicated than the current season of Big Brother.
The trailers spoil the one interesting hook — Robert ‘Bobby’ Trench (Washington, Flight) and Michael ‘Stig’ Stigman (Wahlberg, Broken City) scheme to infiltrate a drug lord’s crew but neither is aware the other is an undercover agent.
Trench is a DEA agent and Bobby is a naval intelligence officer both trying to take down Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos). Stig’s superior, Quince (James Marsden, Bachelorette) has his own motives and Stig dutifully carries out his mission.
Trench feels like he’s close provided his boss, Jessup, (Robert John Burke, Safe) and partner/ex-girlfriend Deb (Paula Patton, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) back up his plan of helping Stig steal Greco’s safety deposit box.
In an odd move, Patton has a topless scene. I realize those four words may do more to sell a significant portion of the straight male populace on seeing the movie than any trailer, but it seems just as random as it did when Halle Berry did it in Swordfish. Still, I doubt there’ll be a long line of dudes complaining about it.
Stig and Trench’s heist has unwittingly placed a huge target on them and the two reluctantly strike an alliance until they learn who’s really pulling the strings.
An investigator, Earl (Bill Paxton, Aliens) enters the fray attempting to tracking down the money. Earl is the film’s only real wild card and Paxton delivers a performance way too intriguing to waste on this movie.
Washington and Wahlberg aren’t exploring any new territory with characters that seem a bit too similar to some of their other roles, but their chemistry is solid enough to keep you entertained when their banter is the focus.
Screenwriter Blake Masters (Law & Order: LA) adapts Steven Grant’s Boom! Studios comic book, but he makes the film more complicated than it need be with ever changing character motivations and convoluted subplots.
All 2 Guns ever had to be was Washington and Wahlberg doing their spin on Bad Boys, the last action/buddy comedy series to get that dynamic right. Occasionally, we get that and that’s when the film looks like it will recover from a shaky start to get good until the next ‘surprising’ twist.
Once we get to the action, Director Baltasar Kormákur (Contraband) tries to out-Michael Bay with slo-mo shoot-outs and the obligatory circle the camera shot, yet he keeps it reigned in enough that it doesn’t come across as mindless violence.
But none of it matters when there’s no connection to the characters behind Trench and Stig’s flimsy partnership. How much you’ll like the film will largely depend on how much you love the thought of Washington and Wahlberg teaming up. If you want any substance or entertainment beyond that leave 2 Guns on the rack.