Bobby (Denzel Washington) and Stig (Mark Wahlberg) are undercover operatives from competing bureaus, each tasked with taking down a Mexican drug cartel. The trouble is that neither knows the other’s true affiliation and, after a sting operation goes wrong, they find that they can only truly trust one another.
Based on a graphic novel, 2 Guns immediately feels a little like Mr and Mrs Smith, a comparison the two male leads may not take kindly to. It is, in fact, a compliment. Just as the chemistry between Jolie and Pitt was the best thing about the husband and wife assassin movie, the banter and connection between Washington and Wahlberg is the heart of 2 Guns.
Both Wahlberg and Washington are on great form here, and it is clear from the chemistry between them, and the rapid-fire witty banter, that they enjoyed their work together. Each continually teases the other, and the bickering between them is actually incredibly entertaining. Wahlberg plays a charmer with an eye for the ladies and Washington constantly tries to ground his friend, and remind him of the crassness of his actions. As well as this, their flair for action sequences works incredibly well for the film, and the faltering bromance between the two becomes the reason the audience roots for them.
The rest of the cast is made up of Bill Paxton, Paula Patton, Edward James Olmos and James Marsden. Paxton obviously has a great time playing a sleazy CIA agent, complete with greasy hair and lazy Southern drawl, Patton plays the love interest (shockingly), Olmos sidesteps BSG‘s Admiral Adama and takes on the role of a ruthless drug lord and Marsden, the role of a corrupt marine. The supporting cast is great, and their tendency to go over the top, to a degree, in their roles compliments the performances of the two leads, and the slightly surreal and overblown story.
Yes, the story is overblown, but enjoyably so. The film may be set in our world, but it is the underbelly of what we know, where sitting a bowling bag, filled with a decapitated head, on a chair is an acceptable thing to do; as is the notion of burying chickens up to their necks and taking shots at them. Remember, this is a film based on a graphic novel, so things are always going to be slightly heightened and stylised.
Director Baltasar Kormákur has had a busy couple of years; not only did he direct Wahlberg in the underwhelming Contraband, but he also directed The Deep, a fascinating film about a man who survives a shipwreck. Contraband fizzled, The Deep fascinated, but 2 Guns sizzles. Kormákur and Wahlberg reunite in style and their energy seems to have spread throughout the cast, as the director gets the best from everyone involved. The film looks fantastic too and while the story is not particularly original, it is told with such flair, and with such winning performances that the audience may be slightly confused at times (there’s a lot going on), but they will definitely be entertained.
2 Guns is a great action movie with strong and charismatic central performances and a touch of silliness. The running time is a little too long, the story needlessly complex and familiar, but this is a film that promises to entertain, and entertain it does.