I counted a lot more than two guns in director Baltasar Kormákur’s buddy-cop dark comedy "2 Guns," so I’m going to assume the number in the title sets aside a couple of them to blow off each of the thumbs I had up walking out of the theater.
"2 Guns" is not a great movie — the plot is ridiculous and convoluted, and the tone swings wildly (and probably too often) from seriously dark to ridiculously silly — but it’s a pretty darned good summer movie.
The film stars Denzel Washington as Drug Enforcement Agency operative Bobby Trench and Mark Wahlberg as Navy SEAL Marcus Stigman. Both are deep undercover, having infiltrated the ranks of Mexican drug kingpin Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos, nearly unrecognizable from age and wear).
The unbelievable hitch is that, for all the power of their respective agencies (and, one assumes, the skills of perception they ought to have in their personal spy-guy arsenals) neither knows the other is also a U.S. agent.
When they accidentally come into possession of (and then lose) more than $40 million of dirty CIA money, the pair are forced to reveal their identities to each other and go on the run to find out who set them up and retrieve the missing cash before they are killed by an ever-increasing number of enemies.
It’s far-fetched and, at times, difficult to follow, and parts of the plot don’t really make sense (if it was ever explained, for instance, why the Navy SEALS were after a Mexican drug lord, I missed it). But the plot holes are leapt over in spectacular fashion by the infectious charm of the leads.
Yes, the dialogue is often bad, filled with wisecracks and far more clever rejoinders than one could roll off the tongue when there’s a gun to one’s temple (or, too often in this movie, one’s genitals). But, wow — do Washington and Wahlberg ever sell it. They’re clearly having a blast slumming in this spectacle of cinematic summer sprawl.
Olmos has malevolent fun with his character, but Bill Paxton absolutely chews up the scenery as the corrupt CIA agent responsible for hoarding all that cash.
There are lots of explosions, some exciting car chases, over-the-top fist fights, all culminating in a spectacular Mexican stand-off that, for once, is actually set in Mexico.
If you’re looking for some mindless escapism and can get past head-in-a-duffel-bag level violence, go ahead and pull the trigger on "2 Guns."