Rating: Sooner or later, Hollywood has to learn that even Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg cannot turn artistic shit into cinematic Shinola.
2 Guns is a messy movie stretched so thin that you sense it is going to snap. While I have made the observation before, barring the possibility that you are one of the many female movie fans who are secretly in love with Mark Wahlberg, it is a film that can’t disappear from the screen soon enough.
Though I admire the fact that Director Baltasar Kormakur was born in Iceland and graduated from The Drama Academy of Iceland, 2 Guns encompasses the exact mistakes made in his recent film with Mr. Wahlberg entitled Contraband (2012). The plot in both films is so convoluted that they defy a rational explanation, and they exist for little reason other than to let its principal stars flex their pretty smiles and ample muscles.
Additionally, while nearly everyone admires Denzel Washington, he has also done some messy films of late. I thought that his crazed performance in Flight (2012) was woefully exaggerated, and both Safe House (2012) and Unstoppable (2010) were borderline unwatchable.
What’s worse, he repeats the unfortunate scenes in Flight where he is shacked up with a beautiful, semi-nude woman who finds interest in him for unexplained reasons. Mr. Washington is one of the great actors of our day, but these types of scenes serve only to exploit women, pure and simple.
What is worse about 2 Guns is that it is a far better film when Washington and Wahlberg are off-screen. They act like a black and white version of Laurel and Hardy, and their repeated scenes together are absolutely preposterous.
Furthermore, 2 Guns has a ridiculous plot that would have you believe that our DEA, Naval Intelligence Services and the CIA are all in a conspiracy with Mexican drug dealers to profit by looking the other way. While both Washington and Wahlberg are supposedly left unaware of this espionage, it still doesn’t stop Wahlberg from intentionally shooting Washington for the hell of it. Washington returns the favor at the end of the film, and it only leaves you shaking your head while leaving the theater.
What saves 2 Guns is the performances of several supporting actors. Bill Paxton plays Earl, the crooked CIA agent, and he does it with energy and style. He is corrupt, proud that he is corrupt, and you end up kind of liking him anyway.
However, while James Marsden is also quite good as a diabolical Naval Intelligence cohort of Wahlberg, Edward James Olmos makes this film his own as Papi Greco, the head of a Mexican drug cartel. Ironically, he has an elan and sophistication that our stars completely lack, and you kinda wish he would find a way to simply dispose of both Washington and Wahlberg so that we could have a meaningful sequel.
While I should probably note the performance of Paula Patton, playing a young woman purportedly in love with both Mr. Washington and others, her best scenes are appearing naked with her dark hair dangling erotically down her bare chest. While this may sound a bit sexist, that scene was far more enjoyable than the ones involving Mr. Washington and his idiotic hats.
In the end I can only suggest that Director Kormakur should have known better than to toy with Ms. Patton, though he was probably seeking some type of cinematic stimulation that would cause the glaciers to melt in his home country. He failed, and it would help him to remember why.