Critics' Pick

2 Guns (R)

Action/Adventure 109 August 2, 2013
By Stephanie Zacharek
All you need for a movie are two guys and two guns. Unless that movie is 2 Guns, in which case you probably need a good deal more. The movie’s pleasures, whatever they may be, stem from a kind of summer-diversion déjà vu. The tagline could be, “If you like things like 2 Guns, you’ll love 2 Guns!” Because it all feels that familiar. There are a few differentiating details, of course. One character is an undercover DEA agent, the action-movie equivalent of a comfy shoe: When Denzel Washington’s Bobby Trench is consorting with baddies, he just slips in a set of gold fronts. Bobby’s partner—or, rather, the guy Bobby works with who doesn’t realize he’s Bobby’s partner—is Mark Wahlberg’s Marcus “Stig” Stigman, a naval intelligence officer gone AWOL. Now that’s something we don’t see every day, and Stig’s gradually unfolding backstory is one of the mechanisms that keeps 2 Guns moving forward. In the end, we may not learn all we want to know about Stig, but there’s a decent amount of rough-and-tumble gunplay and ludicrous banter in between. Bobby and Stig kick things off by robbing a small-town bank—later, we learn more about why—and along the way, they run afoul of a lawman with a weirdly elastic sense of justice, played by a smooth-talking, bolo-tie-wearing Bill Paxton. Watching him slither between the cracks of right and wrong is one of the movie’s pleasures; Washington, smooth as a satin sheet, is always devilishly pleasing to watch in his more comic roles, and he doesn’t disappoint. But this is a here today, gone tomorrow trifle, albeit one with lots of gunplay.
Baltasar Kormákur, Baltasar Kormákur Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington, James Marsden, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton, Edward James Olmos, Robert John Burke, Alexandria Deberry, Fred Ward, Patrick Fischler Blake Masters Universal Pictures

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