2 Guns

Directed By: Baltasar Kormâkur

Starring: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, James Marsden, Bill Paxton, Edward James Olmos, and Fred Ward

The summer movie season is starting to wind down.  It's been an underwhelming summer to say the least.  With bomb after bomb after bomb hitting the box office, we've been continuously disappointed.  The duds have included films like After Earth, White House Down, The Lone Ranger, and R.I.P.D.  Though there have certainly been standouts like Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Pacific Rim, they're more the exception than the rule these days.  It's now August, and that means it's finally time to start the march toward the end of this rather bland summer season.  We’re doing so with a fatal four-way match between the DEA, the Navy, the CIA, and a Mexican drug cartel in Baltasar Kormâkur's 2 Guns.  With Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg at the helm, robbing a bank across the street from a diner with the best donuts in three counties is not such a bad idea after all.

Bobby Trench (Washington) is an undercover DEA agent.  Marcus Stigman (Wahlberg) is an undercover Navy SEAL.  They're working together to take down Mexican drug lord Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos).  They just don't know it.  Each thinks the other is a two-timing loser they can just use and throw away.  Bobby had been focused on turning one of Papi's men, but he starts thinking about alternative solutions when he finds his source's head in a bowling bag.  The solution he chooses is robbing Tres Cruces Savings & Loan, a bank that supposedly houses Papi's money.  He convinces Stig to do the deed alongside him, and they rob Tres Cruces.  With the help of his DEA colleague Deb (Paula Patton), Bobby intends to have his cake and eat it too by using $3 million of Papi's money to take down the Mexican kingpin and getting rid of Stig in the process.

Despite the fact that he and Stig recover an astounding $43.125 million from Tres Cruces, several things go wrong with Bobby's plan.  First, Deb and the DEA are a no-show.  Second, Stig shoots him and runs away with the loot.  Finally, the money is actually a slush fund for the CIA instead of Papi Greco, and the spy agency wants their money back.  Earl (Bill Paxton), a CIA agent widely regarded as "God's son of a b*tch", is on Bobby's case.  With all these problems, Bobby’s now on the run.  As fate would have it, things aren't that much better for Stig even though he has the money.  When his NCIS superior Quince (James Marsden) turns on him and hangs him out to dry for not killing Bobby, Stig ends up on the run as well.  Eventually, Bobby and Stig enter a reluctant partnership working in the same vicinity to deal with all their problems.  All the while, a bloodbath brews amongst the CIA, the DEA, the Navy, and Papi Greco's boys.

2 Guns feels like a modern day Lethal Weapon.  With Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg at the helm of this buddy cop movie, you have a friendship that's not too dissimilar to that of Danny Glover and Mel Gibson a quarter century ago.  I'm not just saying this because we have an Ebony and Ivory dynamic at work here.  For his part, Washington is a veteran DEA agent who is jaded by his experiences and somewhat cautious in his attempts to bring down Papi Greco.  In contrast, Wahlberg plays a hotshot Navy intelligence officer who is trigger happy and winks at quite a few ladies.  He may understand loyalty and following orders, but he's all about going with his gut and doing what's right.  Each star spends most of the movie fighting against the other before finally fighting for the guy right next to him.  That sounds all too familiar.  The big difference is that 2 Guns is just not as good, and Washington and Wahlberg's chemistry on screen feels a bit forced.

The film sports an impressive supporting cast as well.  Bill Paxton brings one money-hungry S.O.B. to the table as dirty CIA agent Earl.  His thrilling games of Russian roulette may be the best part of the movie.  As Quince, James Marsden delivers one treacherous, calculating Navy officer.  I would've liked to have seen his character get a little more camera time.  As much as I enjoyed Paxton and Marsden, I didn't enjoy Paula Patton's performance.  As Bobby's DEA colleague Deb, Patton doesn't bring much to the table with her rather bland acting.

Director Baltasar Kormâkur gives us a pretty straightforward action film in 2 Guns.  It's a decent action thriller that will generally satisfy audiences.  The Contraband director offers a fairly simple, predictable story.  Even with dirty cops, bank robberies, and a looming four-way death match, there's nothing special about it.  It doesn't take the genre to new heights and feels like a typical August action flick.  This buddy cop flick ultimately doesn’t turn out to be some awesome team-up of action legends that's a dream come true.  2 Guns gets a 0.06% rating.  Have a few rounds of beer with this one.  A good donut wouldn't hurt either.