Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Thursday, August 8, 2013

2 Guns


2 Guns, More Problems

8.5 out of 10 | MOVIE OR DVD

Rated: R Violence throughout, language and brief nudity
Release Date: August 2, 2013
Runtime: 1 hour 49 minutes

Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Writers: Blake Masters, based on the Boom! Studios graphic novels by Steven Grant
Cast: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton, Fred Ward, James Marsden, Edward James Olmos, Robert John Burke, Patrick Fischler

SYNOPSIS: 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.

REVIEW: Contraband director Baltasar Kormákur re-teams with Mark Wahlberg acting lead, and the always fine actor Denzel Washington, to bring to life another comic book adaptation. Instead of super powered beings, screenwriter Blake Masters (Law and Order: LA) takes the source material from Steven Grant's Boom! Studios comic series.

Bobby Beans (Denzel Washington, Flight) and Michael 'Stig' Stigman (Mark Wahlberg, Pain and Gain) figure out how to break into a bank for a haul of $3 million. Selling fake passports to a drug cartel overlord Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos), the duo get shafted when their payment of cocaine is replaced by a payment of actual money. When the pair is stopped at the border crossing between Mexico and United States, they are interrogated and let go. Little does the other know that Bobby Beans is actually an undercover DEA Special Agent and Stigman Is a US Navy intelligence officer. When their bank heists becomes too successful, the pair find themselves with too much money, a Greco after them, their own government agencies hunting them down, and an unknown party trying to get his hands on them and the $41 million he says is his.

Wahlberg and Washington reinvigorate the buddy cop movie genre. Like Bullock and McCarthy the in The Heat, Mark and Denzel flip the formula on its head to make a satisfying and engrossing shoot-them-up drama. These actors are well-versed in action films, with Washington coming in as an A-Lister in impactful dramas like Man on Fire, and Waldburg burning up the screen with dramas like The Departed and action comedies like The Other Guys. While both seem an unlikely pair as actors and as opposing characters, each elevates their game to the next level for this Boom! Studios graphic novel adaptation.

Hollywood is abuzz with comic book adaptations. By this time the audience doesn't even realize that the story they are watching onscreen came from a nine colored panel a page book. While this movie doesn't have the hallmarks of superheroes with superpowers, it does have a strong dramatic story. Like Bruce Willis' RED and The Losers, the silver screen is immersed with comic generated stories that do not involve radioactive spider bites, aliens sporting capes, cosmic radiation, or billionaire playboys with crime-fighting gadgets.

As a comic book reader even I missed 2 Guns as coming from comic materials. In fact, the movie felt more like Traffic than The Losers. The director does not try to reference the comic origins of the story, staying away from split screens and 1960's or 1970s comic stills to transition between scenes. There are some snarky moments with Denzel at his ultracoolest under pressure and Wahlberg as his normal manic self on screen, but they treat the material as action drama more so than comic fluff.

The villains are as cool as the so-called heroes. Olmos is the quinessential druglord. James Marsden performs double duty as both Stigman's Commander Quince and as someone also after more than just Greco's head on a platter. Bill Paxton plays a shadowy enforcer who has a perchance for Russian Roulette and thumb tacks.

2 Guns is a slick, twisty summer action flick with strong performances and great chemistry. Wahlberg and Washington are great, doing what they do best - put on a great show. If you are tired on monsters, giant robots, and CGI-heavy spectacles, give 2 Guns a shot!

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