Another day, another comic book adaptation. But thankfully it’s not superheroes this time – it’s an action/comedy starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as two criminals each hiding their true identity.
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur, 2 Guns is a vast improvement on his previous collaboration with Wahlberg – last year’s Contraband. While that movie took itself frustratingly seriously, this is fun from start to finish. The characters quip rather than mope and squabble rather than cry. This gives 2 Guns a cool throwback vibe, with a central buddy relationship that harks back to Lethal Weapon. Blake Masters’ sharp script is rife with criminals having mundane conversations as popularised by Quentin Tarantino, and the bickering between the two leads works because of the great chemistry between the actors.
Mark Wahlberg is at his best here, which sounds like faint praise but I actually really like him. Meanwhile Denzel Washington is as effortlessly cool as ever, complete with earring, porkpie hat and gold teeth. You wouldn’t think he’s 58. That’s older than my dad. And how many good films has my dad been in? None.
There’s a definite weak link in the form of Paula Patton who plays the only female character very badly, only really there to walk around naked. The plot also gets quite complicated, with the CIA, the DEA, the Navy and a Mexican crime boss becoming mixed up in the action. With each twist and turn the story gets sillier and stops making sense when you stop to think about it.
But the film never lets you stop to think about it, with the snappy script keeping things moving and the central buddy relationship keeping us interested. It doesn’t take itself too seriously but still keeps us invested, striking the right balance between dialogue and action. If, like me, you’re sick of superheroes and want some cool throwback entertainment this summer, 2 Guns is surprisingly good fun.