In the harsh and dusty backdrop of the American/Mexican border, supposed criminals Bobby (Denzel Washington) and Stig (Mark Wahlberg) find themselves in hot water when the small town bank job they pull off implicates them in a larger web of drug money, corruption and duplicity. Add to this each other’s secret identities as a DEA agent and Naval Intelligence officer respectively and you get a whole smorgasbord of standard action movie plot incentive. That not enough convolution for your buck? There’s also conspiracy theories a plenty that go all the way to the top.
2 Guns, as you may have guessed, is not a subtle film. Nor is it a particularly original film. What it is however, is a ridiculously over-the-top popcorn flick that delivers exactly the kind of entertainment the trailer promises you. You want noise? Done. You want explosions? Done and done. You want Denzel Washington wearing grills? Well tough shit, here he is. Not to mention a fabulously pantomime performance by James Marsden as Stig’s shady boss. We also have the token action movie tempress in the form of Paula Patton’s Deb Rees, Bobby’s colleague and occasional bed buddy. Mrs Robin Thicke’s character certainly is beautiful, but two-dimensional? Not so much.
But in all honesty, for all its clichés, its standard action movie sexism, its frequently violent ostenticity, 2 Guns is an enjoyable entry to the buddy cop action genre, largely thanks to its effortless chemistry between its two leads. Washington and Wahlberg’s rapid fire rapport is genuinely charming to watch, and every bit as satisfying as the film’s louder set pieces. The standard action trope of yin and yang partners may be done to death but it does provide 2 Guns with a welcomed lean toward comedy, along with some wonderful non-sequitur discussions of flirting and breakfast etiquette.
Put it this way, 2 Guns is exactly the kind of film Hot Fuzz’s Danny Butterworth would be all over. It’s the same sort of gloriously silly slice of machismo that could sit next Bad Boys II, even if that doesn’t sound like a compliment (put it this way, 2 Guns asks for so much less of your time than its Michael Bay directed cousin). It’s the kind of film where people legitimately say “playtime’s over.” Quippy, fun and slickly presented, 2 Guns is an unapologetic, bromantic, action affair which just enough knowing humour to propel it through its clichés.