2 Stars Carry “2 Guns”
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Don’t you just love shoot-’em-ups? Y’know, those movies about bad guys versus good guys. Where morality is as simple of the color of a hat. Sure, they’re just fantasy, but act as a catharsis for angst, frustration, and social pressures.
Trouble with “2 Guns” -- the shoot-em-up now playing at Tropic Cinema -- it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys.
Denzel Washington (“Training Day,” “Flight”) stars an undercover DEA agent; Mark Wahlberg (“The Fighter,” “Pain & Gain”) joins him an Naval Intelligence operative. Pitted against each other, they think their robbing a mob-controlled bank. But they’re actually stealing $50 million from the CIA.
You can be sure that bullets will fly. Especially after the two gunmen discover they’ve been set up.
Toss in James Marsden, Bill Paxton, Edward James Olmos, and Fred Ward for an additional tough-guy factor. And Paula Patton to provide a pretty face as Denzel’s love interest.
This is a different-looking Denzel Washington, blinged out with gold teeth. An Oscar winner, he likes to vary his roles between prestigious drama and mainstream, action-packed diversions. “Bobby, my undercover character, he’s the kinda guy who can get anything for you. A ’63 Chevy, a 1959 bottle of wine, a set of jacks, a condo in the Himalayas, whatever it is he knows a guy. That’s sorta his M.O.”
And he's teamed with Mark Wahlberg. “We’re actually lying to each other for half the picture, y’know. I’m not what I told him I am, and he’s not what he told me he is. And we find that out. But we get along, to a degree. And then we decide to work together.”
With explosive results.
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur (the Icelandic filmmaker who gave you “Contraband” with Mark Wahlberg), this action-packed film is based on the Boom! Studios graphic novel by Steven Grant.
Note: the two gun-totin’ guys in the original comic book are white as Ivory Snow, but how could you say no to casting Denzel Washington? Now studio flacks are hyping this “as a 1980s-style ethnically-diverse buddy movie, in the vein of ‘48 Hrs.’”
Well, not quite in my estimation. Eddie Murphy had a comic quality that worked in a time when racial relations where still in transition. Denzel Washington brings a different expectation, no racial tensions with him.
But take the movie for what it is: a lighthearted shoot-’em-up. It’s guaranteed to clear your head after a hard day at work.