Review by Zoë Robert.
Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur’s latest movie 2 Guns, just like Contraband before it, is an action-packed film starring big-name actors like Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington.
After premiering in the U.S. earlier this month, the film shot straight to the top of the box office charts, earning USD 27 million (ISK 3.2 billion, EUR 20.2 million) in its opening weekend and USD 60 million in gross earnings at the time of writing.
The film, the screenplay of which is based on a graphic novel of the same name by Steven Grant, features DEA agent Robert ‘Bobby’ Trench (Denzel Washington) and Naval Intelligence Officer Michael ‘Stig’ Stigman (Mark Wahlberg). Working undercover, Trench is tasked with investigating drugs baron Papi Greco (played by Edward James Olmos) in Mexico.
Without being aware of each others’ true identities, Stigman and Trench decide to rob Greco via the local bank to use as evidence of money laundering but soon find that they’ve stolen the wrong money—and get a whole lot more than they bargained when the owners get on to them.
What follows is a game of cat and mouse with the two men—now having figured out that they were double crossing each other—forced to work together. The film also stars Paula Patton as U.S. Customs officer Deb Rees, who also happens to be Bobby’s lover, but her role is more or less limited to a few semi-nude scenes.
2 Guns has received mostly positive reviews with Icelandic daily Morgunblaðið awarding it four stars and Variety stating: “Kormakur shows he knows his way around an action movie better than most, keeping the pace quick, the banter lively and the old-school, mostly CGI-free thrills delivering right on schedule.”
New York Daily News wrote: “Blake Masters’ busy script becomes simply a wind-up mechanism for the stars to click into. That’s fine, since Kormákur (who made ‘Contraband’ with Wahlberg) has his priorities straight. There are top-notch set pieces, including a tense interrogation conducted by a sneering Paxton (a real kick with his bolo tie and Southern-drip drawl), a fast-moving break-in at a Naval base and an epic Mexican standoff.”
The film certainly delivers on some fronts with plenty of gun fights and car chases and will quench viewers’ thirst for action but criticism of the dialogue being on the thin side is well-justified, resulting in little depth in the characters. There’s also a lot of violence, even for a genre where viewers have come to expect more and more.
Baltasar himself admitted that he didn’t expect the film to necessarily get good reviews. “One cannot ask for more, especially with films that aren’t exactly review-friendly. It’s action, excitement and fun and critics often wants films to be more serious and more world-changing than this, so I wasn’t necessarily expecting [good reviews]. It’s great that the film is off to a good start,” he commented to ruv.is.
The film is said to have cost USD 61 million to produce and is by far the film with the biggest budget directed by Baltasar, Iceland’s most successful director to date. It’s not Baltasar’s best work but it’s a continuation of a well tried and tested formula and is a further sign that this director is on his way to truly establishing himself in Hollywood.
2 Guns is currently showing in cinemas. For screenings in Iceland visit midi.is.
Zoë Robert – [email protected]