After a break from our screens in the last few years (save for comedy takes Hot Fuzz and 21 Jump Street), the buddy-cop movie genre seems to be enjoying a mini-revival, with this year’s surprisingly successful White House Down and The Heat. Now 2 Guns aims for the same, but falls quite short of the genre’s late 80s, early 90s best.
The key to the buddy-cop movie genre is chemistry, and it’s a chemistry that 2 Guns stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg have in spades. Both men have a way with words, Wahlberg with his cheeky, wise-guy charm, Washington able to bring power, authority, but also a quick wit to a script, and it’s their interplay that elevates the film above a totally standard affair.
This is Baltasar Kormákur’s second film with Wahlberg, and second based around the drug world after 2012’s Contraband. The twisty, double/triple/quadruple-crossing plot revolves around Washington and Wahlberg’s undercover agents (each’s status unknown to the other), who become involved in a much larger conspiracy with multiple government agencies when their plan to bring down a Mexican drug cartel goes awry.
In the end the plot is fairly routine stuff, and fits together far too neatly, but that’s made slightly less noticeable by the able support of Paula Patton and James Marsden, and the enjoyable contributions of character actors Edward James Olmos and Bill Paxton, in a fun villainous role that reminds you of his talents. Kormákur’s direction is solid, with well-crafted, if regulation, action scenes and some nice visual touches, particularly a couple of overhead shots of a desert crossing and a dirt-road car face-off. The genre is a crutch though, and it would have been more interesting to see the star’s interaction used in a more original story and setting.
2 Guns is a solid genre movie with decent action and a plot that keeps the attention well, but it’s the two headline names and their chemistry that raise this above a totally throw-away entry.
2 Guns is now playing in cinemas nationwide
Directed by: Baltasar Kormákur
Written by: Blake Masters (based on graphic novels by Steven Grant)
Cast: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton
Released by: Sony Pictures