2 Guns Movie Review

Who would have ever thought pairing Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg for an action-filled buddy cop comedy would work so well?  I’ll admit that I for one didn’t have any expectations going into 2 GUNS and perhaps that’s the biggest advice I can give to anyone heading to the theater.  2 GUNS is a breezy, albeit R-rated, good time due not to the story but to the incredible chemistry and talent from our two leads and some genuinely funny BAD BOYS impressionistic style of directing by Baltasar Kormakur.

Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg in 2 Guns

Naval intelligence officer Marcus Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) and a DEA agent Bobby Trench (Denzel Washington) are undercover as members of a drug syndicate.  The only problem is that neither man realizes the other man is undercover.  Their criminal partnership comes to a halt when they each try to bust the other after successfully robbing millions from who they believe is the head of a drug cartel.  But the two quickly learn that they were only pawns in a much bigger and dangerous scheme set up by very corrupt people with power.  They now must work together in order to stay alive and clear their names.

Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington in 2 Guns

What makes 2 GUNS so much fun is the dynamic chemistry between Wahlberg and Washington.  Both are on top of their game providing witty banter and effective humor.  The opening scene in particular shows the ease in which the two talented powerhouses are able to interact effortlessly.  Washington’s character is moving through a local bank purchasing a safety deposit box, while Wahlberg’s character is across the street at a small diner.  They are talking on the phone bantering about what the other should order for breakfast, until Washington strolls his way back to the diner where the pulpy conversation transitions from phone to face-to-face with a natural flow as if the two have known each other for years.  The entire time they are making humorous observations about their surroundings while never missing an opportunity to give the other a hard time.  Never once does their dialogue reference their task at hand which entails them safely clearing the diner and then blowing the place up without anyone the wiser.

Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg in 2 Guns

While 2 GUNS isn’t able to sustain the masterful direction and wonderful character development from this particular scene, it definitely keeps the same spirit alive throughout the picture.  One can’t help but feel the same delightful joy as Wahlberg’s character gets excited to join forces with Washington’s Bobby when he happily asks, “Does this mean we’re partners again?!”  The plot is light with an easy complexity that differs from the usual predictable filler other films of this caliber usually default to.  There were a few missed opportunities within some of the clever situations and the film loses some of its steam in the third act where it concentrates on the plot and action more than the comedy.  But even there, the little humor is at its most memorable, while the action is an entertaining quadruple Mexican standoff of mostly satisfying proportions.

Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg in 2 Guns

The supporting work from the multiple villains adds to the fun with Edward James Olmos as the Mexican drug king Papi Creco, James Marsden as a corrupt naval officer, and Bill Paxton as an exceptionally ruthless force to be reckoned with.  I can’t say enough good things about Paxton in this role, who every time he came on screen the energy was raised to another level, playing the over-the-top bad guy with skillful glee.  The lead characters are fearless, always ready with a quip before blasting out of a crazy situation, which is where 2 GUNS succeeds the most.  The actors and filmmakers know exactly what kind of movie they want to make and are unapologetic with their excessive ways.  While perhaps not the most memorable or inventive summer movie, overall 2 GUNS is a fun ride that showcases a few unexpected impressive performances in comedy.


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