A DEA agent and a naval intelligence officer find themselves on the run after a botched attempt to infiltrate a drug cartel. While fleeing, they learn the secret of their shaky alliance - Neither knew that the other was an undercover agent.
Year 2, Film #17
THE REVIEW: Whenever you watch a large amount of something, whether it be films or television, there’s a sort of fatigue that sets in past a certain point. After all, not every film can be good. The trick is to find some part that’s entertaining and stick with that. For me, that’s the case with 2 Guns: it’s a pretty bad film with an uninteresting and overdone story and fairly average performances from the two leads, Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.
The story involves money, drugs, robbery, and major government institutions getting involved. Translation: action, chases, unnecessary love interest to provide conflict, and more action. As I’ll get into though, the more interesting and successful aspect of the film is its comedy. In terms of the action, its nothing we haven’t seen countless times before and there’s nothing really appealing to make you prefer this version over something else. While the premise isn’t as bad as say Quantum of Solace or, even worse, Battle: Los Angeles where the action revolves around the theft of water (really, that’s the best you can do; water?), it still is quite generic, which is itself fairly bad. Little rhyme or reason is provided to serve as context as to why all this unfolds. The addition of the government agencies (this detail is somewhat spoilerish but you do find this out fairly early, plus, it’s in the IMDb plot description included above) does provide some intrigue and a slight amount of diversity to separate this film from the countless other that have come before it, but as a whole, theft and eluding capture, aren’t inherently great topics. Now You See Me, American Gangster, and Serpico are good examples of how they can be done well, but by themselves they lack the drive to excitement that something like a mystery or thriller inherently has.
I mentioned the acting, specifically the performances of Washington (who plays Robert “Bobby” Trench) and Wahlberg (who plays Michael “Stig” Stigman). I don’t want to come across too critical of their performances, because in fact, they were one of the better parts of the film and this gets back to the comedy. The two work extremely well together and have a chemistry and spontaneity that provides many laughs. The thing I found surprising is that Bobby and Stig have only been working together for ten months at the time the film takes place, but the two act like they’re lifelong friends. They know each other’s ticks and can think like the other. In the opening scene, there’s a great exchange between the two over the phone as Stig is ordering Bobby breakfast at a diner while Bobby is across the street doing “business”. The point I was trying to make isn’t that Washington and Wahlberg’s performances were bad, it’s that, compared to their incredible talent and the potential to turn this film into a great one by focusing more on the comedy than the drama, the result was merely average – their performances weren’t able to make me completely forget or overlook the ridiculous and nonsensical action drama.
The trick I said, was to be able to find the entertaining part of a film even when you may not like it on the whole. I feel that if you nitpick every little thing and complain about every iota of the film you disagree with, that defeats the point of going to the movies. The point is to be entertained and you should therefore go in wanting to be swept away with whatever comes across the screen. Now that can’t happen all the time and some films deserved to be nitpicked and criticized to no end (just go back to my Battle: Los Angeles example), but in the case of 2 Guns, this isn’t one of those times. I have many problems with the action side of things: it’s not very interesting nor is it all that original. But I was laughing at the decent amount of jokes and other comical situations presented and it’s this that made going to a matinee showing on a Sunday morning worth my time.
THE RATING: 3 out of 5