By Dan Metcalf
Clipper Film Correspondent
Two Guns (Universal)
Rated R for violence throughout, language and brief nudity.
Starring Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton, Fred Ward, James Marsden, Edward James Olmos, Robert John Burke, Greg Sproles, Doris Morgado, Allie DeBerry, Patrick Fischler.
Written by Blake Masters, based on the Boom! Studios graphic novels by Steven Grant.
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur.
I like a good action movie, but the problem lately has been a trend of too many of them looking exactly the same (I blame Michael Bay). Two Guns is another “buddy” film with many of those familiar action movie staples, like slow-motion explosions (and gun play), rapid-pace snarky dialogue (complete with monologues), and the always-popular double cross by one or more of the supporting characters.
>>>Some spoilers follow<<<
Denzel Washington stars as Bobby Trench, and undercover DEA agent out to cause trouble for a drug cartel leader named Papi (James Edward Olmos). Mark Wahlberg stars as Marcus “Stig” Stigman, an NCIS agent working on the same mission. The only problem is, neither of the two federal cops know that their partner is a lawman, and both of them think they are using their “buddy” as an expendable accomplice.
The plot surrounds the robbery of a bank where Papi is known to store millions in cash. Bobby and Stig pull off the heist, but soon find out there was a lot more cash than they thought. Soon, they discover their true identities and that the money really belongs to the CIA. The CIA guy in charge is Earl (Bill Paxton), a ruthless man who doesn't have much regard for the rule of law, and plans to kill anyone who gets in the way of his plan to regulate all drug cartels.
Bobby has an ally in Deb (Paula Patton), a fellow DEA agent who also happens to be his lover. Stig answers to his Navy Commander Quince (James Marsden). Soon, Bobby and Stig discover they've been set up by their own agencies at patsies, and go on the run from the drug cartels, the DEA, the U.S. Navy, and the CIA, all of whom want the $43 million in cash they took from the bank.
The story culminates in a huge gun battle between all interested parties at Papi's Mexican ranch.
While it's true that Two Guns contains many of the aforementioned staples of your garden-variety action/comedy, it's a movie that has a few things done right. Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur (Contraband), uses some of those action cliches, but benefits from a clever script and two very good performances by Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, who appears to be developing a real talent for comedy (like The Other Guys), and delivers most of the laughs. Meanwhile, Denzel is there to give Two Guns a little more class than your average buddy film.
So, if you like decent action with a few laughs, Two Guns hits the mark.