Often when headed into a movie theater, we know exactly what we’re going to get. Sometimes the trailer will give away a twist, or perhaps the story is something we’ve already heard a hundred times before. And every now and then, a movie gives itself away in its title (see: Snakes On A Plane). 2 Guns is an excellent example of just that — the adventures of a couple of gunslingers. Sure there are other characters and plot points along the way, but it always comes back to a pair of makeshift desperados who do their storytelling with their pistols, leaving the dialogue avenue open for all the banter and wisecracking you could hope for. Part heist film, part revenge flick, and part buddy-cop comedy, 2 Guns may be doing things that we’ve seen before, but they make sure to get there in the most fun, slick way possible.
The first thing you need for any heist or buddy-cop movie is the team of heroes, and the filmmakers really found some great chemistry in stars Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington. After winning his leading actor Oscar for Training Day, Washington has seemed more than happy to play a renegade cop at least once or twice a year, and after a decade of honing this role, he seems to have the wisecracking gusto down to a science. The other side of the coin is Wahlberg as his impromptu partner, who seems to improve his own performance in supporting his co-stars. Both actors have the comedic chops and shoot-em-up experience to play off each other, without ever having to rely on one character or the other to fill one narrow role. While the heroes may get to leave their dramatic forces on the bench for this film, they bring out all the tools they need to keep things cooking.
Of course the good guys aren’t much good without a formidably entertaining bad guy, and 2 Guns most certainly delivers on that end of things as well, with a handful of baddies coming from all directions. There’s double-crossing, back-stabbing, and good old-fashioned greed at every turn, and the fact that it only barely makes sense is left far in the back seat thanks to just how much fun all of the villains are having. It may not be anything new for international drug cartels and corrupt government agents to be chasing after stolen cash, but it’s hard to care with so many wonderfully hammy performances being doled out all around. The kingpin behind it all is slimy CIA agent Bill Paxton, in a moustache-twirling bad guy performance that fits as well here as it would in a 1960’s Hanna Barbara cartoon. Sure we all root for the heroes to win, but what’s the fun without a good villain?
There are some stories that we don’t listen to because we’ve never heard them before, but rather because we enjoy the story so much, we don’t mind hearing it again and again. 2 Guns may not have anything we haven’t seen before, but they sure do have a blast telling us that familiar tale. When the endgame is to have a great time, we might not get the emotional resonance that makes a truly great film, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy every step of the journey. 2 Guns might not be a game changer, but it’s certainly a game I don’t mind playing again and again.
My Rating: 2.5 Stars