Reel Review | 2 Guns

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STORY/ACTING
Just when you thought the deluge of comic book movies was over, along comes 2 Guns which is based off a graphic novel by Steven Grant and Mataes Santolouco, but at least this time it doesn’t deal a superhero in a costume. The story finds Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg battling one another (or are they?) as they are on the run from the drug cartel (or are they?) from whom they stole a whole load of cash from (or did they?). Confused? Honestly, that’s really just a drop in the bucket of the twists and turns this storyline takes during its 110 minute running time. Generally, I enjoy films that don’t insult the audience’s intelligence, but 2 Guns storyline is too convoluted for its own good. It’s a serpentine like story that is disappointing due to the paint by numbers 3rd act. It’s all a shame too, as the chemistry between Washington and Wahlberg is excellent with one caveat which I’ll get to in a moment. The two actors play off one another extremely well and dare I say it, they would have been better suited to be in a Lethal Weapon remake with their playoff banter and brilliant timing off of one another. Although resigned to the fact of playing one dimensional stereotypical characters, the rest of the cast does a great job as well. The film is essentially a pulpy western with a little b-movie grindhouse action thrown in for good measure. But that brings me to the issue I had when it came to the chemistry of the two leads. As good as it was, at times their comedic banter didn’t fit into the darker tone of the film. Wahlberg’s character (Michael “Stig” Stigman) goes at things with fun loving reckless abandon, all the while people and chickens are being killed off in sometimes brutal ways. The two elements just didn’t gel for me. Rating: 16 /  25

VISUALS
As I stated above, the film comes across as a pulpy western and director Baltasar Kormakur does a great job of applying that tone visually. Baltasar has washed away of most of the film’s color and has essentially filled it with more natural earth tones. Often times he frames the film like a western having opposing characters at opposite sides of the frame. He also utilizes many long or aerial shots in the same manner as many classic westerns. For the most part there is a well thought out style and approach to the camera, but it’s never to the point of where it is bringing attention to itself. Some of the scenes seems rushed from a visual standpoint. The camera just seems to be thrown in front of the actor so they can say their dialog and move on to the next scene. It doesn’t have the same level of artistic integrity that the rest of the film has, which sadly makes for an enjoyable, but somewhat of an uneven experience as it relates to the visuals. Rating: 19 / 25

MUSIC/SOUND
To be honest, I didn’t notice the sound much in the film. During some of the gun fights and car chase scenes the surrounds were used on a greater level, but for the most part the sound seemed to be pushed from the screen outwards. In a way I could see that as intentional as it takes the film back to its b-level grindhouse roots so it would be unfair to fault the film for that. As for the music, it started off with such promise, but then sadly fell back into a standard action score. The first cue, and a theme for Bobby (Washington) and Stig (Wahlberg), had this cool, funky, 70’s rock vibe to it. It actually reminded me of one of my favorite soundtracks from a video game called Interstate 76 from well over 15 years ago. It had me so pumped for the rest of the score but the music seemed to fall back into formulaic genre music for the rest of the cues. It’s not bad in any measure, it’s just disappointing when it started out with such promise to be something different, which in turn would have matched the visuals of the film. Rating: 18 / 25

ENTERTAINMENT
I wanted to like 2 Guns and for a good portion of the film I was entertained. It was a throwback to the R-rated action films I grew up on in the late 70’s and 80’s. For the first half, I laughed a few times and enjoyed the twists and turns from the storyline, but as the film progressed into the latter part of the 2nd and final act, I found myself not really caring about anything on screen. The twists kept coming to a point where it almost felt absurd and somewhat comedic. In the end I was happy to spend the time watching the film, but nothing truly stood out for me where I would find myself watching it again.  Rating: 17 / 25

OVERALL RATING: 70 / 100

(If you’ve seen the film, what are your thoughts and ratings?)

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Dave Ziemer has been reviewing movies for over ten years. He is the founder and was the Program Director of SiriusXM Radio's Cinemagic channel.

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