Despite its very modern sensibilities and a tightly woven plot which piles double-cross upon double-cross in an accelerating game of bait and switch, there’s something refreshingly old-school about “2 Guns”. There’s an easy chemistry between lead actors Denzel Washington and Mark Walberg which powers this lean action comedy and keeps it motoring along through its twists and turns.
When a drug deal falls through, criminal partners Tench (Denzel Washington) and Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) decide to rob the bank where the drug dealer keeps his money. Unbeknownst to each other, they are both working deep undercover, one for the DEA and one for Navy Intelligence. When the robbery nets them far more money than they were expecting, they get caught up in a furious chase as various faction vie to get their hands on the cash.
There’s almost an element of the classic sixties caper films about “2 Guns”, albeit with a flashy up-to-date veneer of action and violence. Although formulaic, it’s a clever movie and while every twist and double cross might not come as a surprise, it’s neatly put together and satisfying.
Washington and Wahlberg are well matched as the not quite trusting partners throughout the hijinks and they’re supported by a subtly starry cast including Edward James Olmos, James Mars den, Fred Ward, Paula Patton and another great supporting turn from Bill Paxton.
Director Baltasar Kormákur keeps the whole show on the road, maintaining a light-hearted tone even as the body count rises and the violence increases. Not quite an out and out comedy, the film still keeps its tongue firmly in cheek and the dialogue crackles and zings thanks to the largely improvised interactions between Tench and Stig.
If you’re looking for an unpretentious, muscular crime thriller which maintains a sense of humour and half a brain without skimping on the action, then “2 Guns” is a fair investment of your time.