Features Film

REVIEW: 2 Guns

Let’s hit the ground running– 2 Guns hits you with both barrels of action and comedy, and I really don’t mean, oh it’s an action comedy like Rush Hour or Blue Streak; no, there is a laugh for every bullet fired and there is even an RPG-7 utilized by James goddamn-Cyclops-is-my-homie Marsden. Appropriately, he plays Mark Wahlberg’s Navy boss, acting like a dick as he is wont to do. Good for him.

Everything is fresh in 2 Guns, about as fresh as a streetwise teen from West Philly being forced to live with his affluent aunt and uncle in Bel Air. Even though 2 Guns is not the deepest of plots, it’s where the details come in that counts. Like a drug dealer peeing on his hands before swinging a baseball bat to a ribcage, there is a golden sheen to this movie that makes every scene worthwhile.

Without giving away too much, Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington play Micheal “Stig” Stigman and Bobby Trench — two cannons freed from their restraints, rolling willy-nilly on the pirate ship otherwise known as due process, as they rob a bank, set fires to donut dispensaries, and pass out hot lead as if it were Big League Chew, each completely unaware that the other is an undercover agent. Wahlberg is with Navy “Intelligence” while Denzel is with the DEA, but literally every character who appears onscreen is corrupt in some way, as what was supposed to be a robbery turns into something so convoluted and twisted you’d swear you were an extra in The Last Airbender.

No, no, it’s a good movie, I swear.

The primary antagonist is a southern investigator hot on the heels of our two rogues, as the viciously hilarious and well-utilized Bill Paxton picks up any and all loose ends he can find, producing a series of increasingly knee-shattering and gut-busting interrogations. The villain here, which is an odd phrase because everyone here is villainous in one way or another, is essentially the synthesis of Denzel’s and Wahlberg’s characters, adopting Wahlberg’s lack of a social filter and Denzel’s ability to wear fedoras and not look like he is wearing a derrière for a hat.

Sure, typically in articles you use the famous person’s last name when referring to them, but how many Denzels do you know?

There are a few differences between 2 Guns the movie and 2 Guns the graphic novel — yeah, 2 Guns was a graphic novel first, who knew?

There are some noticeable differences between the novel and the book, as you can see below.

2 guns comparison pic

I can’t believe it either. They added in a fedora and it actually makes everything better (yeah, I was just as surprised as you, but really, it does)

Yeah. Bet you didn’t even know you were a racist until just now.

I mean Denzel even rocks the false teeth, and perfectly owns Trench’s vice city bravado without looking like a Hawaii Five O cosplayer… the original one at least.

Everything is just pumped up in the transfer from page to screen, with the banter, bank robberies, heads-in-bags, and characters stronger, better, faster, as the fatty exposition heavy scenes of the book are cut away, leaving a lean prime rib of pleasure that never takes itself too seriously.

2 guns heist resized

I mean there are a ton of explosions in this movie, and I assure you that Wahlberg and Washington don’t look at a single one of them, in accordance with movie badass maxim.

Mark Wahlberg is perfect as Stigman, I took one look at this panel and thought hey, that is totally Mark Wahlberg.

stig resized

Even then, Wahlberg makes the role his own, throwing in winks and 2nd-grader quality battlefield tactics in-between offering sniper support fire. Essentially it’s the amalgam of his roles in Shooter and The Other Guys, except here Denzel Washington is the proverbial bad cop in this scenario… wait. But everyone is a bad cop here, and even then Washington produces a crazy amount of laughs on his own accord.

Mind you, I’m well aware Washington’s best role, and his all-time favorite character, was playing the Ethan Hawke-torturing dirty cop of Training Day, but the Trench of 2 Guns is a dirty cop in the sense that platypus are poisonous.

Wahlberg is not the comic relief, as technically with the exception of two DEA agents every character here could qualify as the comic relief, as some real personality is transplanted to the ambulatory husks of the graphic novel.

2 Guns the book, after you see the movie, actually becomes a bit stale by comparison, as the graphic novel is a silenced pistol, a semi-serious, quasi noir feel to it with some origins in The Departed, while 2 Guns, the movie, is a liberally lubricated mini-gun that needs a plane built around it in order to be mobile. Things run smoother, hit harder, and rain bullets and one-liners as 2 Guns moves at Mach speed, turning everything in its path into a pink giggling meat cloud of action-comedy.

On a level of awesome, ranging from a prostate exam/gyno visit administered by Razor Fist to having sex on a jet-ski while firing two Uzis in the air simultaneously, I’d give 2 Guns a “waking up after your emergency appendectomy to discover that you’re now encased in Darth Vader-esque power armor.”

Yes, that’s a good thing. Never understood why Anakin would say “Nooooooooo” anyway.

denzel resized


But what did you think? Was 2 Guns Hella Lame? Did you need more co-op action or meaty banter bits? Let us know in the comments!

About the author

Chris Davidson