No Waiting, by David Bax
If you haven’t seen the movie, 2 Guns sounds like a pretty lame title. It sounds more like the beginning of a tagline for a movie than an actual name. Since I have seen the film, though, I can tell you that it’s a more apt moniker than it would seem. I can also let you know that, in addition to being decent title, 2 Guns is a surprisingly decent movie.
Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington play undercover agents Stig and Bobby (Navy and DEA, respectively), neither of whom realizes the other’s true motives or identity at first. When an investigation of a drug cartel makes it necessary for them to rob a bank (which doesn’t make much more sense than it sounds like), they not only discover the truth about one another, they find that they’ve each been betrayed by their agencies. So, despite not fully trusting each other, they must join forces against both the Navy and the DEA. Oh, and also the CIA. And, of course, the drug cartel. I think that’s all. So, you see, this is where the title comes in. The implied full name would be something like 2 Guns Against a Whole Boatload of People Who Also Have Guns.
Director Baltasar Kormákur (101 Reykyavík, The Sea), reuniting with his Contraband star Wahlberg, has thankfully abandoned the unnecessary dourness of that film from last year. While Contraband seemed intent on keeping us from having fun with constant reminders that Wahlberg’s character’s wife was always in danger of being raped or suffering brain damage or suffocation, 2 Guns makes it clear immediately that these guys don’t have anyone important enough in their lives to keep them from doing whatever the hell they want, which apparently includes flirting with waitresses, setting fires and blowing the heads off chickens. All of that occurs in the first fifteen minutes.
Bobby and Stig’s solitude is key to the film’s theme. It does have one and it manages to be completely unsubtle about it without ever harshing the buzz. The basic idea is that America is not its government but its people, no matter what color they are or where they come from. It’s clearly by design that the movie takes place along the Texas/Mexico border and that both the U.S. governmental forces that actively work to keep Mexico from stabilizing and the racist yokels who want a stronger border are painted in a damning light. Good Americans like our heroes (who are charmingly flippant while killing people) are left to band together.
Don’t start thinking this is some big message movie, though. 2 Guns is a fun and fast-moving action movie with a plot that seems enjoyably complex but is actually pleasingly simple and that features cool dudes using their brains and their titular weaponry to take out bad guys, make helicopters fall to the ground and blow up entire industrial kitchens on naval bases. All of that is accomplished with just a couple of firearms. If you can get yourself to a mental space where you don’t have to question the logic of that, you’ll do fine and have a good time watching.
I really agree with David and am glad I finally caught up with this film (and review). There is a fun chemistry between the leads, and I thought the first 45 minutes was pretty brilliant.