Double-Oscar winning actor Denzel Washington recently said he was keen to take on a ‘lighter role’, and you get the impression he found exactly what he was after with his latest incarnation in 2 Guns.
Billed as an ‘anti buddy’ movie by its creator Steven Grant, who published the story as a comic in 2008, the action-packed 2 Guns is alive with incessant gun bangs, raging bulls, gang brawls and bucket loads of banter. Certainly, it marks a departure from Washington’s last role as an intoxicated pilot who takes to the skies in Flight.
Of course, on-screen 2 Guns is anything but an anti-buddy movie. It’s about two guys, who are often at odds with each other, pushed together in extraordinary circumstances. Those guys are the rather brittle Bobby Trent, a drug enforcement agent (Washington), and dirt-talking navy officer Stig (Mark Wahlberg), who have been tasked with working undercover to infiltrate a drug cartel and recover millions of dollars headed by the cunning kingpin Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos).
Only, neither Bobby nor Stig know that the other is also working as an undercover government agent, having given each other made-up backstories. When their identities are discovered, Bobby and Stig give each other both barrels and fall out in spectacular style.
Going alone doesn’t yield the results either was looking for though, and when they’re disowned by their bosses, Bobby and Stig work together as brothers in arms to bring the cartel down and clear their own names which have been sullied by their swindling superiors, including Stig’s nemesis Lieutenant Quince (James Marsden).
In between all this, there’s plenty of improvised banter, some ferocious fights, including a memorable scene where Bobby and Stig are strung from the ceiling by their feet and charged at by a seething bill, plus a half-hearted love story between Bobby and DEA agent Debs, played by Mission Impossible actress Paula Patton.
There are some corny corkers in the script (‘I meant to love you,’ is bandied back and forth between Bobby and Debs), and, excepting the run-in with the bull, some pretty stale action sequences.
But let’s not jump the gun. While there are ample gun bangs for your buck here, the real joy in 2 Guns is the on-screen ease between Washington and Wahlberg who give this at times mediocre plot their best shots.