- Movie Rating -

2 Guns (2013)

| August 2, 2013 | 0 Comments

A lot of crime movies feature mountains of illegally obtained money.  Like the sight of shiny sports cars and healthy bosoms, its a fun treat that can be easily photographed – when we see it, we know exactly what we’re looking at.  Yet, Baltasar Kormákur may be the first director in history to place the piles of greenbacks so firmly into the plot that it becomes a supporting character.  In fact, they’re even given a name: $43.125 million.  If you’re in doubt, consider that this number is spelled out over and over in the dialogue, often slowly and deliberately: “Forty Three Point One-Two-Five Million Dollars.”  There are a lot of players in this movie and each gets his chance to repeat that number, lest we forget that they’re chasing “Forty-Three Point One-Two-Five Million Dollars.”

If the money were a kidnap victim, it couldn’t be spoken of with any more relish.  All through this overwritten bit of hyperactivity, Forty-Three Point One-Two-Five Million Dollars keeps showing up.  We see it several times, seen in piles and piles of Benjamin Franklins.  It’s photographed nicely, though it does look a little greener than we might expect.  After a while, we get so accustomed to seeing Forty-Three Point One-Two-Five Million Dollars that we expect it to start talking.  Yet, glorious as it is to look at, it ain’t exactly Gollum.

The official stars of “2 Guns” are Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.  Washington plays a DEA agent named Billy Trench, whose hard looks, gold teeth and pork-pie hat serve him well when he’s working south of the border on a case to bring down a major drug kingpin named Papi Greco (Edward James Almos).   Wahlberg plays Marcus Stigman, a Navy Intelligence Officer who has also gone deep undercover.  Billy doesn’t know that Wahberg is NCIS, and Marcus doesn’t know that Billy is DEA.  This is not a spoiler; the trailer spells this out without shame.

The pair plot to steal (kidnap) Forty-Three Point One-Two-Five Million Dollars by holding up a bank.  What they don’t know is that FTPOTFMD is being sought after by The Navy, The DEA, The CIA, the Mexican Mafia and an irritating Southern stereotype named Earl (Bill Paxton) who plays Russian roulette with your naughty bits if you don’t tell him what he wants to know.  A lot of people die over this money and a lot of time is wasted with the heroes either looking for it, or running from people that are.

Forty-Three Point One-Two-Five Million Dollars remains the central focus of “2 Guns” possibly because there’s little else on the screen of any relevance.  This is one of those machismo cop-buddy movies with too much plot, too much dialogue and serious gaps in common sense.  It’s one of those movies where tough guys talk smack by insulting each other’s reproductive organs.  One or two lines like that might be amusing, but this form of dialogue goes on and on until it appears to be an obsession.  To our surprise, they never really discuss women in this way.  Women in this film remain out of the picture, save one, a woman named Deb (Paula Patton) whose role in the plot is of no great consequence, though she does photograph slightly better than Forty-Three Point One-Two-Five Million Dollars

That’s too bad because the presence of Denzel Washington in any movie is a treat.  He has always been the smartest and most dependable of actors who can enliven even the soggiest of scripts.  Here he does a good job, and in some scenes he does a great job, but by the end of the movie even his charisma has petered out.  “2 Guns” is like vapor that goes into your brain and evaporates before its over.  While you’re watching it, it doesn’t really mean anything and when it’s over, it means even less.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.