Sometimes you need to just need to boil it down to the simplest of formulas to make a movie work. Great chemistry, solid action and a script that doesn't embarrass itself trying to be something that it isn't. "2 Guns" is an effective little action thriller, that balances some humor along with the violence to make for a fun, but hardly memorable trip to the theatre.
A DEA agent and an undercover Naval Intelligence officer (Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg) who have been tasked with investigating one another find they have been set up since neither man knows in a federal agent until they each try and arrest the other after a planned bank job. Their missions get turned upside down, and when they are forced to go on the run together after they learn that they didn't steal money from the mob like they initially thought they had...all hell starts to break loose.
Ultimately, "2 Guns" adds up to being one of the more pleasant summer surprises of the year, since it is just a pulp filled crime story filled with twists and turns that only tries to be a fun diversion. Director Baltasar Kormakur who made his Hollywood debut with "Contraband" improves upon his first effort with a quick witted slick looking action piece that never once gets boring. Shot in and around the states of Louisiana and Mexico, Kormakur keeps the action moving at a brisk clip while the script from Blake Masters who has worked exclusively in TV until this graphic novel adaptation keeps the audience engaged with wall to wall action, a myriad of twists and turns, some genuine comedy and attractive women at every turn. It is truly a pure pulp kind of narrative, one that you can pick up and put down on a moment's notice. You won't remember it, but you acknowledge that you had a good time with it thanks to a surprisingly fun chemistry between the two leads.
Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg worked surprisingly well together on this picture, both men have managed the action comedy before but together they make for a truly fun duo, that I am surprised haven't been paired together on screen before. They lean on the buddy cop formula a little harder then they maybe should, but they have a natural chemistry and great comedic timing with one another which makes the entire proceedings a lot of fun to watch as they are asked to carry the bulk of the film with banter that in anyone else's hands could have been forced and tiring but these two men make it work. The supporting cast has a cavalcade of other supporting performances featuring the likes of Paula Patton as the prerequisite love interest, Edward James Olmos as the Mexican drug lord, James Marsden as corrupt military man and Bill Paxton chewing the scenery making for one of the more memorably sinister and over the top bad guys that we've seen on screen in quite some time. However, the entire movie hinges on Washington and Wahlberg, who take the material and make it soar.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray were top notch as expected and special features on the Blu-Ray include Click, Click, Bang, Bang: The Making of 2 Guns, deleted and extended scenes as well as a feature length commentary track from director Baltasar Kormakur and producer Adam Siegel.
Will "2 Guns" sustain as a memorable pulp filled action romp? Maybe, maybe not but this film has enough going for it to make me wish for a potential "2 Guns 2", and while the details of the film may quickly drift from my memory, the fun I had while watching it's fantastic balance of buddy action humor with actual gravitas and drama won't go away any time soon.
4 out of 5 stars.
"2 Guns" is now available to rent and buy on DVD, Blu-Ray and On Demand from all major providers as well as retailers like amazon.ca, iTunes and HMV.