Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Film Review: 2 Guns (2013)

Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Screenplay: Blake Masters
Stars: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg and Paula Patton

Tired, predictable, charmless, and fundamentally not exciting, 2 Guns misfires in its blatant attempts to capture the magic of the buddy cop movies of yesteryear. This film doesn’t even get close to the heights of Tango & Cash or Another 48 HRS, let alone any buddy film which may have starred Mel Gibson or Danny Glover.

The major problem lies in the screenplay and characterisation, or lack thereof. Writing this review not even 24 hours after having seen the film I can remember barely anything noteworthy which speaks volumes about the quality of a film which, in a genre I truly love, really should have left some impression on me. The screenplay by Blake Masters reeks of an attempt to write ‘cool’ dialogue in the style of Quentin Tarantino, Shane Black or Christopher McQuarrie but lacks the vital talent involved to make that kind of dialogue flow and pop off the screen, rather than come across as nothing more than an amateurish imitation, which this clearly is. The relationship between the two leads (Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg), which is crucial to any buddy film’s success, never clicks and is forced to work throughout rather than feeling organic and natural (or as natural as it can get with this type of film). Washington and Wahlberg try their best but they cannot make it come across as anything other than the below-par effort it is.

The plot is simple as it gets but it managed to lose me very early on with its lack of well-crafted characterisation despite the screenplay working overtime to make the characters lively and likeable. The flashbacks are a mess and derail the story with more attempts to be like a Tarantino film but draws attention to itself and its weakness which fan the flames of the miserable humour the screenplay tries to invoke. The film’s idea of humour is to have Mark Wahlberg talk like a 21 year old frat boy rather than the highly skilled Navy Officer he is supposed to be; the comedy and characters to not match and only goes to show how shallow the screenplay actually is. You may laugh (and I did smile a few times) but the gags and smart talk soon wear thin and just feel like scripted gags rather than genuine lines coming from the character; compare this to how Joe Hallenbeck in The Last Boy Scout or Reggie Hammond in 48 HRS talks and you’ll see what I mean.

All of this means only the action scenes are left to salvage the film. Sadly the film delivers precious little excitement and not a single original set piece or idea; that’s not to say the action is dull or boring but it cannot salvage the film because the screenplay has caused irreversible damage to any investment you need to care what happens. If the two leads were substituted for Cuba Gooding Jr and Paul Walker and this was released directly to DVD and the budget was slashed in half, then 2 Guns would be just as effective.

Stop thinking for yourself verdict: 2 Guns might serve if you’re looking to have some ‘brainless fun’, but they don’t make ‘brainless fun’ like they used to; it’s a sadly missed lost art.

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