August 8, 2013
2 Guns (** ½) R
2 Guns is the second collaboration between the film’s star, Mark Wahlberg and its Icelandic director, Baltasar Kormakur. Their first project, Contraband, released early last year, did quite well though I wasn’t much of a fan of that film. It felt predictable and trite to me, kind of like a poor man’s heist film, although the film was anything but a small budget affair. Considering the success of their previous entry, I suppose it was inevitable that Wahlberg would enlist Kormakur once again at some point.
It pleases me to say that 2 Guns is a much more satisfying effort than Contraband, although I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a solid home run. It’s enjoyable enough and will certainly please fans of the film’s stars. It shows vast improvement over Contraband. If Wahlberg and Kormakur continue to work together and their work continues to improve at the current rate, perhaps we’ll have something really good to talk about in, say, three more pictures or so.
The story here is one of the double and triple cross variety. In fact, there are so many double and triple crosses that I felt I almost needed to take notes to keep it all straight at certain critical moments. Patience proved to be a virtue as everything is tied up fairly neatly in the end but getting there was a bit of a chore at times.
Wahlberg’s character, Marcus Stigman, is a naval officer with dubious morals and his partner in crime, Robert Trench (Denzel Washington), is working undercover for the DEA as the film introduces the characters. Both are investigating each other, although neither is aware of this. It appears they are planning a bank robbery, something they’ve apparently been doing for quite some time.
Denzel Washington & Mark Wahlberg in 2 Guns
What eventually becomes clear is that both men are attempting the robbery for different reasons, reasons that are made clear via flashbacks. The amount of money the two men are supposed to be taking out of the bank is $3 million but when it’s discovered that the amount is about forty more than they were counting on, things take an interesting turn.
It’s at this point that Bill Paxton shows up as a character named Earl and things go in yet another direction. Earl represents the owner of the other $40 million and is none too happy with Stigman and Trench’s antics. Earl is even more unnerved to find out that Stigman and Trench actually have no idea what happened to the money. Trench’s boss, Deb Rees (Paula Patton) is taken hostage by Earl as a ploy to get his money back, thus forcing Trench and Stigman to put aside their differences, as they take on Earl and the organization he represents.
2 Guns has some genuinely interesting sequences and a good sense of humor, which helps matters. It’s far from a failure but its resonance once I left the theater certainly proved questionable.
Now playng at the Carmike in Hickory, and area theaters.
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