Now Playing: Not 2 Bad

Surprisingly, I had a lot of fun with ‘2 Guns’, the new action-crime thriller from Baltasar Kromakur, who previously made ‘Contraband‘ with star Mark Wahlberg. I didn’t expect much from this seemingly stale film, but once the end credit sequence started rolling, I kind of hoped for a sequel. The on-screen chemistry between Wahlberg and Denzel Washington is the best I’ve seen in a long while. In what could be an off-shoot version of ‘Bad Boys’, the movie packs enough explosions, gunfire and laughs to garner a second viewing. The trailers don’t do it justice.

We’re first introduced to Bobby Trench (Washington) and Stigman (Wahlberg) as they seem to be working for a big Mexican drug lord named Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos) as freelance smugglers. The two guys plan to rob a small-town bank that supposedly holds $3 million of Papi’s money. In reality, Trench is an undercover DEA agent and Stigman is undercover U.S. Naval Intelligence, and they’re both hell-bent on taking out Papi and his crew. The only thing is, each man is unaware of the other’s real identity and assumes that the other is just a regular ol’ bad guy.

That is, until they successfully rob the bank and realize that the $3 million is actually $43 million. And it’s not Papi’s money, but rather belongs to someone much more powerful than they imagined. After three different types of big government agencies turn on Trench and Stigman, the two finally figure out their true identities and team up to take everyone out. That means that there are more than just two guns used.

What makes ‘2 Guns’ so enjoyable is the hilarious banter between Washington and Wahlberg. Their ribbing of one another, as well as Wahlberg’s lightning-fast rapid fire insults, keep the film flowing with laughs at every scene. Both actors are extremely engaging and light up the screen. Washington adds a bit of depth to his role as he seems to be a bit more double-crossed than his new partner, and he doesn’t handle it well. Olmos takes a turn from being the admiral of the Battlestar Galactica to playing a mean drug lord who pisses on his own hands and isn’t above beating his victims with bats or letting a rampaging bull strike them head on. Then there’s Bill Paxton, in his slimiest role since his stint in ‘Weird Science’. He plays such a nasty scumbag that you can’t wait for him to get his comeuppance. His thick Southern accent is also very funny. James Marsden and Paula Patton turn in short but solid roles as well.

‘2 Guns’ doesn’t take itself very seriously, and tends to rely on laughs and fun action scenes to keep your attention, which it does well. Kromakur uses his camera to put us in the center of the action and makes us feel every shot and hit to our characters. The movie has a few suspenseful scenes that will keep you on the edge of your seat, as well as a bit of blood and guts thrown around from time to time.

The movie definitely ends with a set-up for a potential sequel. If this is any indication as what to expect from Washington and Wahlberg, be sure to count me in.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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