The… buddy cop? movie pairs Drug Enforcement Administration agent Bobby Trench (Denzel Washington) with Naval Intelligence officer Micheal Stigman (Mark Walhberg) as robbers — at first. After robbing a bank where they thought a Mexican drug lord (Edward James Olmos) was stashing his American cash and finding $43 million of the CIA’s money, a wild series of double-crosses ensues and pairs the duo as cops against both the cartel and the corrupt agency.
This movie is worth a watch for the cinematographic discord alone. To say it’s a light-hearted movie about dark subject matter is a half-truth, but that’s the simplest way to put it.
The plot is a veritable circle-jerk of U.S. law enforcement agencies at each other’s throats to the point that the cocaine trade is an afterthought. Narrative expectations are largely satisfied, but not… quite. An all-star supporting cast somehow includes James Marsden and Bill Paxton.
And of course none of these aspects are used for social commentary or raising cinematic quality, but they make the movie more interesting. Normally, that’d be points off for lack of ambition, but there’s too much that’s random about this film to know what director Baltasar Kormákur was going for. Some of the more jarring points include the setting being vague to the point that the audience never really knows whether they’re in Mexico or Texas and Earl’s (Paxton) out-of-place mafia scariness.
The movie also has plenty of objectively good and bad elements, and counting those might be the best way to evaluate it. Walhberg is quicker-mouthed and funnier than any character he’s ever played, and he betrays his rarely-tapped talent here. The action is fairly spectacular, not bad but just short of something special. Though it avoids genuine intrigue, the plot is amusingly convoluted.
On the flipside, the movie gets progressively worse and more generic as it goes on. It feels longer than it is, which is always a bad sign. It does that annoying thing where the first sequence is in the middle of the movie, but everything else is in chronological order for no discernable reason.
Maybe I’m overthinking 2GUNS and it’s really just an average action movie, but there’s something about it that just doesn’t fit within traditional narrative structures.
Joshua Knopp is a formerly professional film critic, licensed massage therapist, journalism and film student at the University of North Texas and a staff writer for the NT Daily. He does not sleep. For questions, rebuttals and further guidance about cinema, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. At this point, I’d like to remind you that you shouldn’t actually go to movies and form your own opinions. That’s what I’m here for. Be sure to come back this weekend for a review of Elysium.