I think it’s official now: the summer blockbuster battle fatigue has just kicked in and I can’t really see myself going out of my way to watch yet another 2.5 hours of destruction porn so abundant in the cinemas over the last two months or so. This is why I refused to watch “Wolverine” and “The Lone Ranger” (plus, a little bird told me that the latter would most likely suck royally), because I was approaching the tipping point, at which I would actively vomit in the cinema. I’ll still catch up with them whenever they’re released on Blu Ray, so no worries.
In order to save myself the embarrassment I have recently decided to undergo a detox of sorts that included picking mostly comedies to see on the big screen. Keeping in mind that there are still some big titles I’m looking forward to see this summer (i.e. “Elysium” next weekend), a course of treatment including some light cinema would freshen up my senses, keep my mind nice and open, and subdue the cynical prick that now lies dormant in the darkest reaches of my mind.
By total accident I ended up extending my latest trend of getting in touch with the buddy variety of action/comedy and added “2 Guns” to the list. I must admit that I ventured to see this particular film with surprisingly limited knowledge about it. Normally I do know certain things, which is a direct result of reading up about film-related news all the damn time, but “2 Guns” have blind-sided me really effectively. Prior to the screening I hadn’t even seen the trailer; I knew only the premise of the film (aka a one-sentence synopsis).
“2 Guns” is basically a very classical take on the buddy cop comedy, in which we meet Bobby (Denzel Washington) and Stig (Mark Wahlberg) who do some shady business with a Mexican cartel led by ruthless Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos). They sell forged passports and do everything to stay afloat and climb up the ladder in the drug underworld. However, they are both undercover agents (Bobby works for DEA and Stig for US Navy Intelligence) and, to add insult to injury, they have absolutely no clue about their respective identities. (By the way, the lack of communication between federal agencies is simply stunning)
In order to take down Papi, Bobby orchestrates a bank robbery, where they would steal Papi’s dirty money as evidence to help lock him down for good. Little do they know, however, that the money they stole belongs to somebody else, who would stop at nothing to get it back.
Gosh, it’s difficult to summarize this film. Not that it’s overly complex and multi-layered and such, because it is after all an action comedy, but I found it amazingly difficult to write it up without giving the most important plot points away. That’s just how it is, “2 Guns” is a comedy about two guys, who don’t know who their partner is, and they end up being double-crossed while being double-crossed by somebody else. At some point, this film started to look more like an episode of “Scooby-Doo” with all the unmasking, betrayals and what-not.
Even though the plot looks rather convoluted, “2 Guns” plays out quite simple. It’s a very formulaic buddy comedy that takes a lot from “Lethal Weapon” and “Tango and Cash”. But, let’s be clear here for a second: even though the film is filled with witty humor and snappy dialogue, it’s still a pretty violent and action-packed show filled with blood, guns, some mild torture and even a topless chick (Paula Patton) whose breasts serve no actual purpose on the screen other than to tick the genre box. Surprisingly though and thankfully at that, in spite of pairing up Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, “2 Guns” doesn’t rely on racially-influenced dynamics and humor to propel the film. I find it very reassuring that we can now see a decent example of seeing past the cliché black/white buddy cop comedy, because there is only a finite number of puns and one-liners that would fit into that equation, and we’ve seen them all, I’m afraid.
Ok, so there are guns (2 of them, snap!), violence, humor, explosions, drug cartels, shootouts, car chases, boobs, money, rogue agents, rogue soldiers, rogue-pretty-much-anybody, fat useless policemen and sexy waitresses. On paper all the boxes are ticked and in theory “2 Guns” should be fantastic. Problem is that it’s all been done. Even Simpsons did it… Therefore, this little film will never be amazing and awesome – it will only be OK. Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast, but it’s not one of the films that will linger in your memory for longer than ten minutes. It’s nice and refreshing, but it has nothing to offer apart from the solid craftsmanship.
“2 Guns” goes down very nicely, even with very predictable twists and turns. It’s perfect when all you need is a break from the heavy-handed blockbusters we’ve been seeing all summer, but it adds nothing to the genre. The actors are OK, the action is OK, the humor is OK – it’s all just… OK. If anything, “2 Guns” takes a few steps towards self-parody at times with the absurd amount of double-crossings and rogue agents that run rampant on the screen. Seriously, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think that US Government agencies have zero control over their employees and assets – that’s how ridiculous it gets by the end. Maybe, for sake of clarity, this film should come bundled with a sign that says “Avoid taking anything in this film seriously… Seriously…” It’s just good fun, but nothing more…