By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
The trailers and TV spots do not do this awesome action/comedy enough justice. I went into this screening neither excited nor apprehensive, but rather indifferent. It certainly adds to the enjoyment of a movie when it surprises in all the right ways. 2 Guns features the first pairing of actors Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in a movie and hopefully, this won’t be the last. These two actors have such great chemistry in this film and it would be wonderful to see them work together again. I would especially like to see this pair reprise their 2 Guns characters in a sequel. Based on the news I just read regarding a sequel to the comic books which inspired the movie, my wish probably will come true.
Actually, while watching the film, I had no idea that it is based on a comic series by Stephen Grant. Much like the comic, the film involves the work of two crime partners who have no clue about each other’s true identities. Robert “Bobby” Trench (Denzel Washington) is a DEA agent who currently works deep undercover to infiltrate the business of drug kingpin Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos). He has recently teamed up with Michael “Stig” Stigman and plans to use this low rent criminal to bring Papi down. Little does he know that Stig is really an undercover naval intelligence officer working a different angle on the same case. Things seriously go haywire when double crosses take place and some clues regarding the truth behind Stig’s operation are slowly revealed.
Director Baltazar Kormakur and screenwriter Blake Masters do some tremendously exciting work with 2 Guns. The movie works well on both comedic and action levels. The comedy delivers laughs aplenty and the action consistently thrills. Kormakur, cinematographer Oliver Wood, and editor Michael Tronick wonderfully shoot and cut the action, keeping the look of the film gritty and dirty without getting too overindulgent with style. Blake Masters writes one hell of a script with sharp, witty and jocular dialogue. Fans of Tarantino, Ritchie and McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths) will definitely enjoy this brand of humor mixed with explosive excitement.
In addition to the extraordinary performances of Washington and Wahlberg, the film also features some solid turns by James Marsden (Quince), Robert John Burke (Jessup) and Edward James Olmos (Papi Greco). The movie also has a most memorable performance by Bill Paxton, who portrays a wicked, cold blooded killer that goes by the name of Earl. I won’t elaborate any more on his character and the role he plays in the story because that would take some of the joy out of discovering this information. Take my word for it, Earl is smooth and cool, but cutthroat and evil when necessary.
Paula Patton, who stars as Trench’s DEA colleague Deb, definitely oozes sexuality, but doesn’t quite nail some key moments in the film. One particularly dramatic scene falls a bit flat for me, therefore, not quite credibly. I have enjoyed her previous work in movies such as Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Precious, but she misses the mark a tad here. To be completely fair, she may not be totally to blame. Directors and editors sometimes make bad choices when selecting takes or when forgiving weak ones.
Other than this minor complaint, watching what I expected to be a silly and lame action comedy turned out to be one of the most fun times I had at the cinema this summer. I highly recommend catching this comical action vehicle on the big screen. I had such a great time watching it and I know that plenty of others will as well.