With a title like “2 Guns,” it’s a safe bet that Baltasar Kormákur’s latest action film involves at least a fair amount of over-the-top violence. The action, though, pales in comparison with the buddy-cop chemistry of the 2 leads, which may or may not be enough 2 overcome a poor plot.
The movie opens with Bobby Trench (Denzel Washington) and Michael “Stig” Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) planning to steal $3 million from Mexican drug lord Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos). But when they end up with $40 million more than they expected, they realize that both of them are actually undercover agents. Bobby works for the DEA, while Stig is an NCIS agent and the money they have isn’t actually Papi’s. Somewhere along the line, they were set up.
In the mad dash for Bobby and Stig’s cash, Blake Masters’ script turns unnecessarily complex. Corrupt CIA agent Earl (Bill Paxton) claims the money is his and will go to any length to make sure it is returned in full. Stig’s commanding officer Quince (James Marsden) wants to keep the money for the Navy. Bobby’s girlfriend, DEA agent Deb (Paula Patton), also wants it, but only to share with her secret lover.
2 guns quickly multiply into what seems like 5,002 and while the gunfights are decent enough, there are so many of them that one wonders whether Kormákur simply started shooting for the sake of shooting. With little (if any) real suspense or genuine dramatic stake, the guns jam in an entirely anti-climactic, uninventive, and disappointing conclusion.
However, the surprisingly fresh and appealing chemistry between Washington and Wahlberg saves “2 Guns” from being a complete failure. Both turn in entertaining performances and their wit plays off of each other well, even if it consists mainly of a string of one-liners instead of actual dialogue.
These cops really are buddies and it’s easy to enjoy their banter, but when the guns come out, the script shoots far more blanks than a buddy cop action film should.
** ½ out of five