posted on August 02, 2013 00:00
This year has been filled with disappointing film after disappointing film after disappointing film. I am sick of every movie underwhelming, or worse. 2013 has made me lose faith in and hate mainstream Hollywood films. Bloated budgets, sequels and comic book adaptations have led to a very sad summer season. Ever since X-Men made big dough back in 2000, Hollywood executives have been buying up every graphic novel and comic book franchise they can. Counting this week’s 2 Guns, they total seven, with two more in the chamber for this year. Rarely has a stand-alone graphic novel been worth the purchase. Director Baltasar Kormakur reteams with Contraband star Mark Wahlberg for the latest, 2 Guns.
2 Guns follows Bobby Beans (Denzel Washington) and Michael Stig (Wahlberg) as they rob a bank, stealing more than they planned, from somebody they didn’t intend to steal from, and finding out that neither of them are petty thieves. Bobby works for the DEA and Michael for Naval Intelligence. They were both undercover, unbeknownst to the other, trying to bring down Mexican drug kingpin Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos), but they get more than they bargained for when they steal from the ruthless Earl (Bill Paxton), and he starts to hunt them down. Bobby and Michael go into the bank for three million and leave with $43.125 million. They also discover that both of their operations were off the books, and their “friends” and co-workers come after them, too.
This seems like a decent plot, and it is. Where 2 Guns falters is in its execution. Director Kormakur tries really hard to be creative in his shot choices, but it becomes distracting. For example, there is a scene where the camera starts above a ceiling fan, and then seamlessly pans around it and down to a mini-bar. Why? It did not look as cool as it was intended. Random slow motion at random moments only makes this cliché ridden action movie drag on longer. The climactic shoot-out is a silver lining to this thundercloud of boredom. Sadly, you have to sit through the first ninety minutes before reaching it.
Denzel plays a character that we have seen him play may times over: the cool under pressure, quick with the wit, smooth fella. Wahlberg channels his Lugo from Pain & Gain with his overtly stupid, but subtly smart guy. The banter between the two is entertaining, but tends to slow the pacing down. Bill Paxton’s evil Earl is the biggest offense 2 Guns has to offer. His over-the-top portrayal of the villain is simply out of place and extremely distracting. Earl tries to be sinister, but he becomes more comical at every turn. What works in the comic book world does not always translate to the movie world. 2 Guns is littered with cameos: Paula Patton, James Marsden, Robert John Burke, Patrick Fischler and Fred Ward. Paula Patton has made her rounds on the talk shows and she is proud of her topless scene, claiming it was her idea. I thank her for the idea, but that does not help her paper thin character.
Back in 2010, Warner Bros. released their adaptation of DC Comics The Losers. 2 Guns is very reminiscent: complex layered story involving government agencies and over-the-top villain with a decent cast of actors playing terrible roles. 2 Guns is not a good movie. It is an entertaining one, for one viewing only. I cannot recommend spending your money on this in theaters. If you are compelled to watch a movie that feels like a retread of at least a dozen other films, or you just want to see Paula Patton’s chest, wait for a rental. It will save you money and time.