While July 2013 was headed for a complete tailspin after the double whammy of awful that was RED 2 and R.I.P.D., The Wolverine managed to swoop in save the month. With August’s first big release—2 Guns—it would appear that this month is off to a shaky start. While 2 Guns may think it’s just a big, dumb, fun kind of action movie, there’s not quite enough fun going around to make it a true success. The pairing of Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg does create some enjoyable scenes, but surprisingly, Blake Masters’ screenplay (adapting Steven Grant’s Boom! Studios graphic novels) keeps their characters apart more than it should.
2 Guns opens with Bobby (Washington) and “Stig” (Wahlberg) parking in front of a diner which happens to be across from a bank. Bobby heads for the bank to scope it out, while Stig heads inside the diner. The two decide that the bank is a sitting duck and light the diner on fire. Cutting to two weeks earlier, we learn that Bobby and Stig are trying to get $100,000 worth of cocaine from drug kingpin Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos). The only way to get to Papi is to rob the bank which holds what they believe to be $3 million of Papi’s money. Turns out that what they wind up stealing is more than $43 million that belongs to the CIA. Now, Earl (Bill Paxton) is after Bobby and Stig to get the CIA’s money back, while the DEA and the Navy are trying to get away with the cash as well.
If this sounds confusing, Masters’ screenplay is even more convoluted than that. Thankfully, director Baltasar Kormákur—who worked with Wahlberg before on Contraband—keeps the film chugging along. At only 109 minutes, you’d think it would go by at a quick clip, but the only time the film really works is when Washington and Wahlberg are playing off each other. Like I said, they keep the two apart more than necessary. Considering that’s what audiences want to see, folks may walk away a little disappointed. However, it’s still one of the better action films of the summer, and at least things blow up real good once in a while. On the downside, 2 Guns feels like it takes a few too many pages from Michael Bay’s philosophy, there’s plenty of unnecessary violence (including animal cruelty), plot holes big enough to drive a truck through, and Paula Patton takes her top off.
If you already want to see 2 Guns, then you’ll see it. For anyone else it’s a good enough diversion and sometimes that’s all you can ask for in a summer film.