I would like to make a case for a solidly entertaining movie. In a time when so much media noise is competing for your mouse click it’s hard for anything to get any attention unless it is the best ever or the worst ever.
Is it OK for something just to be plain ol’ good? “2 Guns” is a wonderful example of this. It’s not a great movie and it’s far from profound, but it is an enjoyable couple of hours. In a summer awash with much sound and fury, signifying nothing, I’ll take it.
A lot of the sheer watchability of “2 Guns” comes from its leads, Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. These two are about as seasoned and professional as it gets; as both are capable of delivering prestigious performances (Washington more than Wahlberg) and neither are above slumming for a paycheck (Marky Mark more than Denzel).
“2 Guns” finds them somewhere in between and it turns out these guys have plucky chemistry when meeting in the middle. And let’s give these dudes some credit — they know how to make a movie.
As for the movie surrounding them, it’s briskly directed by Baltasar Kormakur and based on a graphic novel by Steven Grant. Washington and Wahlberg play a couple of mid-level criminals (or are they?) who get caught up in a series of crosses, double-crosses, and double-double-crosses with several million illicit dollars being the ultimate prize.
Again, this sucker’s just solid. The pacing is good, there are some laughs, there’s some action and the plot holes aren’t so egregious as to insult your intelligence.
The supporting cast is dependably sound as well as Bill Paxton beefs up the smarm and his Texas accent to play the heavy, James Marsden and Fred Ward pop up as morally dubious Naval officers, and Edward James Olmos drops in to chew a little scenery as a Mexican drug lord.
Toss in Paula Patton to provide a little eye candy and you’ve got yourself a movie that will leave you saying to yourself “That wasn’t half bad” after stumbling across it on cable on some aimless night a year from now.
I wish this was something Hollywood did more often. In a desperate attempt to be the best ever, the model is to now spend hundreds of millions of dollars on spectacle with increasingly diminishing returns.
You could make three or four “2 Guns” for every underperforming, over-budgeted turd like “The Lone Ranger” or “After Earth.”
I’m certainly not opposed to the giant, event movie (Hey, I dug “The Avengers” like everybody else), but movie studios are on a dangerous path as audiences are going to eventually get numb to all the visual wonderment and these high-risk, high-reward flops are going to become more and more frequent.
A baseball team isn’t going to win many games if every player tries to hit a home run every time. You need guys hitting doubles and singles and sacrifice flies and laying down the occasional suicide squeeze.
“2 Guns” is like a well-hit double to left-center field. It’s nothing to get too excited about, but two or three more of these and we’ll have a nice little rally going.
“2 Guns” is rated R for violence throughout, language, and brief nudity.