Guns Akimbo (2021) is a flashy, frantic misfire full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.
A flashy, frantic misfire full of sound and fury but signifying nothing, GUNS AKIMBO finally slinks on to a UK streaming service following a self-inflicted delay caused by director Jason Lei Howden’s social media stupidity. It provides the expected scattergun thrills and kinetic action yet underwhelms by failing to make the most of both its premise and its cast.
In the near future, the world’s most popular social media site is the underground criminal fight club network Skizm which draws huge audiences to watch their grisly live-streamed deathmatches. Miles Lee Harris (Daniel Radcliffe) spends his leisure time trolling online trolls but when he picks a fight on the Skizm forum, he draws the attention and ire of Riktor (Ned Dennehy), the psychopath who runs the network. Beaten and drugged, Miles wakes up to find guns bolted into both of his hands and learns that he’s now part of the latest deathmatch, pitted against the game’s reigning champion Nix (Samara Weaving).
Whatever you think of his work in the HARRY POTTER films, you can’t deny Radcliffe has made some fascinatingly varied choices in his career since graduating from Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. He’s clearly having fun here even if the frantic to a fault script doesn’t give him much opportunity but to react to the insanity unfolding around him. GUNS AKIMBO is so enamoured of its own high-as-a-kite concept that in its overstimulated excitement it forgets to take even a moment to breathe and so everything suffers from a deficit of attention. For example, it would have been nice for Radcliffe’s character to have spent a little more time with Rhys Darby Yoda/ Crack Fox hybrid homeless guy as he dispenses his particular brand of twisted wisdom but it’s pretty much one scene and done and then on with the mayhem.
Speaking of mayhem, Samara Weaving may be having a blast cosplaying as Lisbeth Salander reimagined as a Terminator but, much like Radcliffe, beyond booms and bang, she doesn’t get a lot of range to play with. And therein lies GUNS AKIMBO’s main issue: it’s a lot of empty noise. What could be a high-calibre satire ends up as a flashy misfire, failing to have anything trenchant to say about online abuse, social media or society as a whole. It might be fun for the 98 minutes of its run time but it’ll likely live on longer in memes than it will in your memory.