<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur. Starring Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton, James Marsden, Edward James Olmos
Your standard shoot-em-up, cops and drug dealers, double-crossing mayhem that is only enlivened by the smooth chemistry and funny banter between the film’s two solid leads.
Director Baltasar Kormákur has worked with Mark Wahlberg in the ‘dumb’ movie Contraband (read the review here) before but this time he uses Mark’s vulgar but extremely likeable persona to bounce off Denzel Washington’s dry wit with surprisingly good results.
Denzel plays Bobby Trench, a DEA agent who infiltrates a drug cartel headed by Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos). He is partnered up with Marcus ‘Stig’ Stigman who is a Naval petty officer also infiltrating the drug cartel. But neither Bobby nor Stig knows about each other’s secret identities, at least initially.
From the beginning you get an idea that some sort of treachery and betrayal is afoot and nothing seems kosher. You are keenly aware that Bobby and Stig are unwitting pawns in a larger scheme but that scheme isn’t really that important to delve into deeply. The CIA is involved in the form of a man called Earl played wonderfully by Bill Paxton. And as usual the CIA is dirty with a hand in the drug-dealing pie.
Now Bobby and Stig have ripped off a bank where they think Papi’s dirty money is stashed. They think it’s $3 million but they end up finding $43 million, which actually belongs to the CIA. But the dirty Navy guys lead by Quince (James Marsden) want the money too.
You’ve seen all this before in a million other cops v/s bad guy films – which Hollywood seems to know how to do best – so it’s not the ho-hum plot and lack of any real intrigue that keeps you awake. It’s the genuine ease that Denzel and Mark have playing off of each other with the riffs and jibes that makes 2 Guns an easy and entertaining watch. Sure the sexy Paula Patton’s brief (and mostly censored) moments of nudity with Denzel are a treat too but her double-crossing character Deb lacks any mystery or depth. Watch this video to find out more about her character and the raunchy scenes with Denzel.
Edward James Olmos has done a great job though of making his two-dimensional drug lord a lot more interesting and human. There’s a subtle subtext in the film about how matter-of-fact certain nefarious activities are in the US and how even crime and violence has blended in with the culture of America, a country that as the film has stated, wants to keep Mexico poor and dependent for it’s own benefit.
If you like these two actors and just want something light and entertaining then go watch 2 Guns.