Most summer movies offer up the implausible. Dinosaurs and aliens, rockets and robots–all manner of fanciful fare roar and rip as we nod and smile. “2 Guns,” however, is beyond implausible. It leaves implausible in the dust, runs over it with a truck, and shoots it in the head. Amid crater plot holes, suspension of disbelief gives way to utter demolition of disbelief. If you were high as hell, tripping your balls off on a three-day crystal bender, this movie still wouldn’t make any sense. There is fun to be had here if only “2 Guns” didn’t feel like it was trolling the audience with its “Howard the Duck”-level of absurdity. Snappy dialogue and a couple few exciting chase scenes cannot hold up against a tidal wave of what the fuckness.
Denzel Washington plays Bobby, an undercover DEA agent trying to set up a drug lord. Marky Mark Wahlberg plays Stigman, a Navy intel officer who, for some reason, is trying to take down Bobby. But neither knows that the other is law enforcement. It makes “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” look like Hitchcock. They decide to rob a bank together, because . . . it doesn’t matter. They rob the bank, but it turns out there is a ton of money instead of just a lot of money and everything goes wrong and I could go on, and the trailer does and spoils the movie, but I’ve just explained everything in “2 Guns” that makes sense. The plot twists and turns like a roller coaster leaving all attempts at logic behind. In one scene, Stigman just says, “Fuck it,”[ref]Right before he drives a mini-van through the gates of a heavily armed naval base after having roughly 30 hours walking through the desert to formulate a plan.[/ref] clearly echoing the thoughts of the screenwriter. I can get past leaps in logic, it’s a movie after all, but the level of stupidity on display crushed what could’ve been a fun ride. The preposterous antics stole every emotion, every reason to care about the characters. With no emotional center, the movie drifts this way and that, but never settles into something that matters.
The characters themselves were rote, but entertaining. Wahlberg and Washington play well off each other. I was actually reminded of Wahlberg and Will Ferrel in “The Other Guys,”[ref]In fact, go watch that instead.[/ref] with Wahlberg stealing some of Ferrel’s signature buffoonery. It was fun as hell to watch. Unfortunately, the Sorkin-ish rat-a-tat was far more effective than any attempts at serious character development. The characters said that they were hurt or proud, but we never see it and certainly don’t believe it. Their behavior is the exact same throughout the film. We never hear what they want or get to chew on even one scrap of their history. Bobby and Stigman exist simply to get out of the situation we happened to find them in. And we frequently find them being questioned or tortured or pursued, usually in a small room, and never with hope of escape. Until they do escape, of course, usually in a bloody manner. This happened at least six times during the film. Fool me once and all that.
There is entertainment here. There is action. There is money and guns and cars. “2 Guns” feels like it was written by ninth-graders after an all-night “Call of Duty” marathon. The direction is awful, with camera and editing mistakes that even a film student would know to avoid.[ref]At one point, there is a shot of Washington where the frame terminates in the middle of his neck. He looks like a floating head.[/ref] Even with my brain turned off, I balked at what was happening on screen. The one female character, without spoiling it, doesn’t amount to much. Evidently this is based on a graphic novel, which sort of gives graphic novels a bad name.
I hope that a capable writer and director watch Washington and Wahlberg and do something wonderful with their chemistry and comedic timing. For now, though, we just get this mess.