I'm a freelance writer living and studying in Sydney
Published September 30th 2013
2 Guns is an action-comedy from the Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur, featuring an all-star cast with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as the main duo. The film is based on the BOOM! STUDIOS comic book series "2 Guns" by Steven Grant. Michael 'Stig' Stigman (Wahlberg) is a naval intelligence officer and Robert 'Bobby' Trench (Washington) is a DEA agent. And both are undercover in an attempt to bust a cashed up Mexican drug mule…only neither of them realise the other is also undercover.
Kormakur takes you on an action-filled ride as the boys make enemies left, right and centre. Eventually Stig and Bobby find themselves well and truly alone and surrounded by corruption from the Navy, the DEA and the CIA to boot. The film takes on the modern day Western, placed mostly in Mexico and Texas, focussing on the complexity of the US-Mexican drug war. The violence and brutality is thankfully overshadowed by comedy, allowing the film to be somewhat less confronting and more enjoyable. Wahlberg, as always, brings his comedic A-game but Washington appears out of his depth in the comedy genre. But, like any cliché buddy-cop film, it is expected that the two leads be stark contrasts or else the humour just wouldn't work. Washington has to play the serious, poker face cop, making the odd witty comment here and there. Wahlberg, on the other hand, just goes to town as the coy, flirty and altogether arrogant 'good cop'; throwing in winks for the ladies. Despite it all, the duo have good chemistry and they do make it work. But it's definitely Wahlberg's comedy that saves the film.
Then we come to Bobby's control officer, Agent Deb Rees, played by Paula Patton. Not only is she the only main female character in the entire film but she also completely lacks character development of any sort. For the most part of the film she can't make up her mind about anything. Does she love Bobby or does she love 'Harvey'? Is she a helpless victim or a femme fatale? There is just not enough room in this testosterone-filled film for a strong female lead. And this is completely evident in Patton's shell of a character. She provides sex appeal for the audience in one nude scene and that appears to be her sole purpose for the film.
The plot, at first, seems predictable. You know the duo are going to reunite after being disowned from their respective superiors. You know the duo won't get killed in the process. So then, in an attempt to create a plot twist (a predictable act in itself), Kormakur tries to shock the audience with mass brutality and violence with a hint of humour for good measure. 2 Guns is good as far as any senseless action film goes. Don't get me wrong, who doesn't love a senseless action film now and again? But it is the film's lack of character development and haphazard plot that leaves the viewer yearning for something a little bit more solid.
Nonetheless, at the end of the day, the combination of Wahlberg and Washington has great chemistry and certainly outdoes many other action-comedy duos. 2 Guns redeems itself as a film that promises to provide laughs from start to finish.