Star rating: 3 out of 4
Starring: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg
Directed by: Baltasar Kormakur
Running time: 109 minutes
These are four things that occurred to me after watching 2 Guns.
1. Just when I thought the western film genre might be endangered (the only recent notable genre entries being The Coen Brothers No Country For Old Men and 2011s overrated indie Meeks Cutoff), 2 Guns enters the fray gun slingers made with old-school conviction and new-school style.
Horses and buggies are replaced with pick-up trucks and helicopters, the CIA are reinstated in a role reminiscent of the county sheriff, and even the old tracking shots are traded in for todays usual shaky cam and rapid fire editing. But dont be fooled by all the au-courant elements! The genres major trademarks still remain in all their former glory: bank robberies, enraged drug dealers, corrupt law enforcement and vile but somewhat likeable pairing of protagonists. Maybe old dogs can be taught new tricks! This western-like film has car chases, helicopters, swat teams and even explosions, although all these still remain inside the well-known framework.
2. So it should come as no surprise that the main characters are on-the-run outlaws. But the twist is that Bobby (Denzel Washington) and Stig (Mark Wahlberg) are both undercover agents from different firms who miraculously (or not so miraculously?) unite in an attempt to infiltrate a drug cartel. Neither knows the other is working for higher powers and in the beginning the audience shares their obliviousness, for when we first meet the pair they are seated in an old diner discussing a plan for their forthcoming bank robbery across the street (in Pulp Fiction-like fashion). Both are suspicious of the other but they cant be overt because of the risk of blowing their cover. This begs the questions: Are they both crooks? Is one trying to catch the other? Are they both cops exploiting their badge with the intent of scoring loads of cash?
I spent most of the film neither making heads nor tails of these two men. Perceptions are always changing: people we originally thought were heroes are in fact villains and vice versa. But this constant twisting and turning does, by the end, make the plot a little convoluted. At some points I did find it rather difficult to piece together how we got from point A to point B.
3. None of this really matters when one considers the greatest pleasure of watching 2 Guns having two spectacular actors share the screen for the first time. Wahlberg and Washington have dazzling chemistry; they deliver their dialogue with perfect comedic timing and never play a scene too far, which would consequently reveal their characters true ethos.
4. This may not be quite as good as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but 2 Guns is loads of fun because of its excellent lead performances and a script that leaves the two protagonists opaque enough to keep us intrigued.
Go see it! Its way better than The Lone Ranger!
Joshua Cabrita is a Grade 12 student at Riverside Secondary. He is a founding member of the school's movie club, where students meet to view old classics and discuss their meaning and significance. One of his audacious dreams is to become a full-time professional film critic.
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