Med City Movie Guy: Cast is loaded, but '2 Guns' is slightly off-target

2 Guns

Confession. I'll screen anything with Denzel Washington in it. I once watched the actor in what I thought was a slow drama for 30 minutes before I realized it was surveillance video of the two-time Oscar winner in a Malibu Starbucks streamed on TMZ.

A riveting performance, nonetheless. Especially when he goes back to the counter asking, "This is skim, right? Not soy?"

Intriguing as "2 Guns" appeared — it's Denzel's newest film and first light role — the buddy/action/comedy was only slightly funnier.

Denzel doesn't disappoint. Neither does co-star Mark Wahlberg, who earned his comic chops pairing with Will Ferrell in the same genre's "The Other Guys." They just deserved better.

Depending on your standards, the plot is either convoluted or complex and intricate. The two are undercover officers, unbeknownst to each other. Washington is DEA and Wahlberg Naval Intelligence.


Together they boost a couple of duffle bags fat with cash from a bank they believe is a sanctuary for a drug kingpin. It is and it isn't. The CIA is collecting a skim from the cartels, so what Washington and Wahlberg actually hit has angered some very powerful players.

Three things that follow are predictable. They're double-crossed. The money disappears. They have to set their adversarial relationship aside and join forces or the body count will be even greater.

There's good chemistry between Washington and Wahlberg in "2 Guns," but only a few comic moments. (Witness sage advice like, "Never rob a bank across from a diner with the best donuts in three counties.") As an action film, though, it's better than average.

The effects are not overdone and neither is the violence. Overall, it has a stylized Steven Soderbergh-feel to it and the supporting cast is strong.

Co-star Bill Paxton as the oily CIA operative relentlessly in pursuit of his money is a delicious bad guy reminiscent of Javier Bardem's Anton Chigurh in "No Country for Old Men." Edward James Olmos ("Tough guys don't do math, tough guys deep-fry chicken for a living") rounds out the cast as drug lord Papi Greco.

A solid film, but hardly Denzel Washington's best (see sidebar).

3 Honks


Few in Hollywood can claim the breadth and respect of Denzel Washington's body of work, which runs the gamut from a jazz trumpeter in Spike Lee's "Mo' Better Blues" to a trumpeter of civil rights in socially relevant films, including "Philadelphia" and "Malcolm X."

Some of Denzel's best includes "Glory," the true story of an African-American company of soldiers in the Civil War, also starring Matthew Broderick, and "Training Day," hands-down Washington's grittiest role. Both performances earned the actor Academy Awards.

Two of my favorites are "The Pelican Brief," which co-starred Julia Roberts and was based on a John Grisham novel, and "Man on Fire," a thriller helmed by Tony Scott that features Dakota Fanning and Christopher Walken.

The train-lover in me also found 2010's "Unstoppable" and 2009's remake of "The Taking of Pelham 123" entertaining.

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