2 Guns partners Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington in a buddy cop-esque action comedy. Considering the talent involved, it goes more for the action that jokes, but with a strong supporting cast and enough twists and turns to keep things interesting, it proves to be one of the most entertaining (albeit fairly dumb) summer action movies of the year. My review of 2 Guns follows after the jump.
As the film starts, Bobby Trench (Washington) and Michael ‘Stig’ Stigman (Wahlberg) are casing a bank, but to make sure they don’t have any problems, they take out a nearby diner which has great donuts. They plan to steal the three million or so that local drug dealer Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos) deposits at the bank. But when they finally make their run for it, it turns out that there’s millions more, and that money must belong to someone. And what the duo don’t know is that they’re both undercover.
Trench works for the DEA, along with sometime-girlfriend Deb (Paula Patton), and he thinks the money will give them a RICO case against Greco. Stig is working for the military under Quince (James Marsden), and took the job as a no questions asked type-deal. After the robbery Trench is shot, while Quince plots to get the money from Stig and kill him. With no one else to trust but themselves, the two work together as it turns out most of the money belonged to the CIA, with Earl (Bill Paxton, having a great time, obviously) now on the case to get that money back at all costs (and probably kill everyone who had a hand in robbing him).
Films like this live and die on the chemistry between the two leads, and often when two actors of this sort of star power are put together it’s done more for fiscal reasons than any actual chemistry between the two. So it’s great that Washington and Wahlberg play so well off each other. The film also keeps the stakes fun as the duo chase the money that they stole and learn to work together again. It’s also nice to see Washington get a chance to play less serious. Washington often appears in more serious dramas or action movies, and — though he’s excellent in those films — Washington has an endless amount of charisma when he’s playing rakish and amused. And though Wahlberg has shown his sense of humor before (and has been used well by people like Paul Thomas Anderson and David O. Russell) it’s usually when he’s playing a buffoon. This time he’s playing smart and funny, and it works well for him.
Director Baltasar Kormákur and screenwriter Blake Masters seem to have studied all the right movies, from Freebie and the Bean to 48 Hrs. and the film knows that it has to deliver the action with as much panache as its sense of humor, and the film moves at a fairly fast clip. It’s also R rated, which in an era where most movies target the four quadrant PG-13 demographic, it’s nice to see people bleeding after they’ve been shot, and some gratuitous nudity. The movie sets up a sequel, and though the film did just okay at the box office, I’d definitely watch more of these two.
Universal’s Blu-ray also comes with a DVD and digital copy. The film is presented in widescreen (2.35:1) and in DTS-HM Master Audio. The transfer is ridiculously clean, and the soundtrack is engaging in its surround mix. Extras include a commentary by Kormákur and producer Adam Siegel, eight deleted and extended scenes (12 min.), and a four part making of (30 min.) that’s surprisingly thorough, and shows the film’s comic book origins. It’s also filled more with behind the scenes footage than talking heads, which is nice.