Monday, 23 September 2013

2 Guns (2013)

2 Guns transplants the buddy cop film onto a western setting; hilarity ensues

Like other indie directors from the continent these days, Komakur’s transition to Hollywood has been made on the back of genre films. We’ve seen two (A Little Piece of Heaven, Contraband) from Komakur which showcase his talent for making films that transcend their genre roots and 2 Guns makes a hat-trick.

The comedy in 2 Guns centres on the absurdity of the surfeit of double and triple crosses its cast of characters dish out on each other. “Bobby” (Denzel Washington) and “Stig” (Mark Wahlberg) are two low-life criminals who double-cross their Mexican drug lord boss by staging a heist on a bank he’s chosen to stash his ill-gotten gains in. Neither is aware that the other is a white hat working for a different arm of the state; or that their ‘partner’ is about to double-cross them for the low-life criminal they appear to be; or that the stash they’ve stolen belongs to the CIA, which will send an unstoppable, sadistic killer after them; or that they’re about to loose that stash and get double-crossed by their respective organisations; or that they’ll have a price placed on their heads by the DEA, the Navy, the CIA, and a very angry Mexican drug lord if they don’t hand over the stash that they don’t have, soon.

Everything comes together in this caperish mayhem. As the straight man of the classic odd couple who routinely insult each other as bonding ritual, Denzel Washington has sizzling chemistry with Mark Wahlberg. All that double and triple crossing makes the subsequent repartee and to-and-fro between their characters even more pointedly funny. Bill Paxton and Edward James Olmos shine as villains who can be both chilling and funny at the same time. Script-wise, Paxton’s CIA ruthless, amoral killer provides the (neo)western setting as an advocate for the modern world’s analogue of the civilizing process.

Helmed by Baltasar Komarku, 2 Guns is a cheery and entertaining tribute to genre films that at the same time, transcends its genre trappings. The sense of existential absurdity is at times overshadowed by the broad comedy of the piece, but you couldn’t make a darker, slightly more existential, 2 Guns unless you got the Coen brothers instead.

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