I find myself often amazed by the number of movies coming out based on graphic novels these days. Now for those who are not as well versed in the comic industry there is a bit of a difference between a graphic novel and a comic book. Some years ago it was the level of writing, where these prints would have an amazingly well developed arc that no comic book would dare print. V for Vendetta and Watchmen are two of the most prominent, with Dark Knight Returns being one of the ones to cross, perhaps blur the line between the two. These days the primary difference between a Graphic Novel and a Comic Book is Rating and that graphic novels are a closed arc where comics are continual arcs.
I bring this up because I was surprised to learn that 2 Guns had it’s basis in the graphic novel industry. This puts it in the same league as The Losers, 30 Days of Night, Road to Perdition and A History of Violence. Did that conjure some images for you? If no, it’s ok barely anyone saw the movies I mentioned and for the most part they missed out. 2 GUns is in the right company with this material and comparison. Ultimately it is a filler movie that *may* have far more interesting source material than the movie was able to deliver.
I did laugh more than a few times and the action scenes when they happened were well executed and shot well enough that I could follow it. Icelandic Director Baltasar Kormákur (Contraband with Mark Wahlberg is his only US theatrical release) manages to eek out just above average performances from what is otherwise a cast of actors that are familiar to most. I think that Blake Masters screenplay (one writer!!) may be largely at fault, though I am unfamiliar with the source, the writing is overall cliche and uninspired.
The saving grace of course is when Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington are on screen together. While I am deeply concerned that Marky Mark is teaching Denzel how to be charming and charismatic, the two do have chemistry. The movie suffers when others are on screen or at times when the two are not together which happens too often. Together however, the pair is charming, engaging and downright funny. Mark brings his usual brand of earnest goofy humor that has served him well. Denzel is playing Denzel, sadly, while he is more charming than the wooden prop named Bruce Willis these days, it’s really feeling like the same character.
The side actors are numerous with Edward James Olmos (so say we all!), Bill Paxton, a surprise cameo by Fred Ward, James Marsden, and Paula Patton (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol). Each delivers a performance of their own and for the most part seem to be there to chew up scenery; which is done in abundance. I am disappointed from a storytelling perspective that they saw fit to have Patton topless for two scenes, but so be it, the guys will like it.
From a cinematic point of view, I compared the movie to cotton candy. It’s sweet, fun and ultimately hollow and forgettable once you are done. It just didn’t know what it wanted to be and didn’t go far enough in any direction to truly embrace it’s multiple facets.
It’s a matinee at best folks.
Not the worst thing this summer by far. I laughed more in this and was entertained more than in many of the other summer releases.
If you are a Denzel completist or just can’t get enough of the Funky Bunch give it a go; I don’t think you will be disappointed. The movie lives and breathes on the chemistry and charisma of the main actors. Get what I am saying?