Film Reviews

2 GUNS

By • Aug 2nd, 2013 •

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In a world that is corrupt with greed as motivator, there are men who have pledged allegiance to uphold the law and risk their lives at all cost to sever the bonds of men and syndicates that are in collusion to perpetrate such crimes.

Then there are those who fight the criminal power through a dubious partnership under the guise as criminals who double cross one another only to realize that it is they who have been manipulated by their respective agencies and must learn to place trust in one another because they are the good guys who have no law enforcement to back them up. They are marked for death by the very people for whom they work, a drug cartel with marauding armed Mexicans, and the CIA. Got it?

The Blake Masters screenplay is based upon a graphic novel by Steven Grant. However, the film does not have the look or feel of previous film adaptations of graphic novels. Notably, writer-director Frank Miller’s SIN CITY, 300, THE SPIRIT.

2 GUNS does take its storyline from Don Siegel’s CHARLEY VARRICK starring Walter Matthau and Joe Don Baker. In the original, Matthau robs a bank in Tres Cruces counting on a few thousand dollars and is miffed by the half million score. The depositor? The mafia! Forty years later, Denzel Washington (Trench) and Mark Wahlberg (Stig) aim for 3 million, factoring inflation over four decades, the substantial loot is worth well over forty million, courtesy of the CIA.

Cast as the CIA despot inquisitor Earl, Bill Paxton is far removed from his nice guy persona with his Mormon houses and wives in BIG LOVE. Every moment on screen as interrogator exudes seething maliciousness. His Q&A methodology quickly converts the taciturn to frightened fractured shells with loose lips. Paxton and Washington come to an agreement in a scene where the game of Russian roulette is focused. This alone is well worth the trip to the theater.

Edward James Olmos as Papi Greco, the leader of a Mexican drug cartel, adds to the cast of characters with skewed morality at ease, shooting human beings, placing a human head in a bag, offering humans as piñatas to a raging bull, and allowing target practice of defenseless chickens buried up to their necks in the hot Mexican terrain. Of the characters in the film, if truly one character were a misanthrope, Papi Greco is it. (See the film for the misanthrope English lesson.)

Trench and Stig are two guys with guns in an American muscle car trading down to a minivan in the Southwest quipping and bantering at ease, all the while staying cool under pressure. The rapid fire dialogue is formulaic for the cop buddy movie. It’s on par with the speed of the film. Washington and Wahlberg fluidly trade smart comebacks punctuating the frivolity and joy of an action film.

2 GUNS offers shootouts, a big Mexican standoff, banditos with machetes, a game of chicken and demolition derby, a topless Paula Patton, the big money shot, and heroes who walk off into the sunset. It’s fun and entertaining.

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