So I watched 2 Guns…
You know I’ve come to terms with the fact that we live in such a sequel-trigger-happy society but it still irks me how the films that should get sequels often don’t. I love this movie and would love to see Denzel and Mark team up one more time. But I guess I can’t get what I want; but yet Paul Blart: Mall Cop 3 has just been confirmed (that’s a joke, don’t get any ideas Kevin James).
Okay, basic plot: Bobby Trench (Denzel Washington) and Michael Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) are career criminals and partners. The pair decide to rob a bank which they believe to be a dropoff point for Mexican druglord Papi Greco. Expecting a haul of $3 million, Bobby and Stigman are shocked to find $43 million being stored in the bank. Furthermore both men reveal themselves to be undercover agents – a fact unbeknownst to eacj other – with Bobby working for the DEA and Stigman the NAVY Seals.Instead of celebrating the end of their undercover operations, the two men are greeted by betrayal as both their agencies turn on them, forcing the two men to go rogue in order to deliver justice.
There’s just something about buddy cop movies that appeals to me. From Lethal Weapon to Tango & Cash to Rush Hour and Ride Along, it’s just great seeing two people who have no right to be working together being forced to do exactly that. Now 2 Guns isn’t exactly your traditional buddy cop movie. It has the standard two polar-opposite leads whose constant friction lights the spark of comedy and action; but because the pair are technically criminals, there’s an added dimension to their interactions and, therefore, to the entertainment. They aren’t held back by the traditional rules of police officers and can, therefore, be a bit more wild and brash.
This freedom in their interactions was used brilliantly by Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. The chemistry between the two is electric and powers the film exceptionally. I love it when films show you the relationship between characters instead of merely telling you. The first scene in the movie consists of sharp and witty dialogue between the two and this sets up the perfect foundation for the film. The dynamic between the two characters is effortlessly established and because their relationship is so beautifully presented so early on, you immediately believe in it and (most importantly) care about it.
As wonderful as Washington and Wahlberg are together, they also shine individually. One of the criticisms I often hear about Washington is that he makes such serious movies and that his catalogue is bereft of comedic roles. To these people I always say go watch The Preacher’s Wife but now I can also say go watch 2 Guns. Denzel is an amazing actor and he’s proven that he can do anything. His performance in this film reminded me a lot of his work in Training Day but in this film he hits those comedic notes much harder but keeps that slick swagger that we loved about Lonzo. On the flipside this isn’t exactly a stretch for Wahlberg. He’s played the brash, arrogant loud-mouth before but I think this is the best I’ve ever seen him do it. He oozes charisma and his comedic timing and execution has never been better. He not only holds his own against Denzel but shows a level of quality that we often forget he has.
Not only is this movie brilliantly acted, it also has a top-notch script. The dialogue is crisp and entertaining, the characters well-formulated and memorable and the whole plot has a wonderfully lively spirit to it. It’s a familiar premise and things tick along the way you’d expect but they’re presented with great levity and such sparkling dialogue that things feel fresh and innovative. Director, Baltasar Kormákur also deserves copious amounts of praise for the steady pace and lively action that he crafts into the movie. The film builds beautifully and has one of the most satisfying climatic shootouts that I’ve seen in a while.
I’ve said quite a bit about the spectacular performances that Washington and Wahlberg deliver but I would be remiss if I didn’t applaud the efforts of their supporting cast. Bill Paxton puts in a wildy entertaining supporting performance as Earl – a man tasked with retrieving the money that Bobby and Stigman stole. We aren’t given much information about who the character is but Paxton’s portrayal is so rich and, at times, eerie that the character sticks in your mind and refuses to leave. Edward James Olmos also impresses as Mexican druglord Papi Greco. Olmos doesn’t have a lot to do in this film but what he’s tasked with doing, he does well.
Overall, 2 Guns is a movie that gets more fun the more I see it. It’s a fantastic action-comedy with great acting that shows the range and skill of both its leads. The film also has a great script and side characters who do more than just fill the numbers. It’s definitely worth watching. 8/10