Playing double-dealing partners in crime whose crookedness is both more and less than it seems, Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg give a hip, flip and cynical spin to the buddy movie genre with twisty action thriller 2 Guns.
Washington’s smooth operator Bobby and Wahlberg’s fast-talking Stig pull off a bank heist in a small Texas town, but instead of the loot they’ve been expecting to find – $3million of a Mexican drug cartel’s ill-gotten gains – they walk away with $43million belonging to an even more ruthless organisation: the CIA.
Up to this point, the duo haven’t exactly been straight with each other, but as more and more players get drawn into the intrigue, teaming up in earnest appears to be their best bet of surviving.
With Washington and Wahlberg sparking off each other splendidly, 2 Guns works best when it is channelling the playful spirit of such 1980s buddy movies as 48 Hrs and Lethal Weapon.
The plot – based on a graphic-novel miniseries by Steven Grant – has a few too many twists and turns than are necessary, as we discover that Paula Patton’s sultry DEA agent, James Marsden’s slick Naval intelligence officer and Bill Paxton’s remorseless CIA agent are playing two-faced games of their own, leaving Edward James Olmos’s honestly dishonest drug kingpin as the only character whose motives you can trust.
But even though the intrigue gets overly tangled, the two Ws and their co-stars are clearly having a blast, and director Baltasar Kormákur (who made Wahlberg’s 2012 action thriller Contraband) gives the increasingly outlandish shootouts a splashy comic-book zest.
Released in cinemas on Friday 16th August.
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