Arriving with little promotion and less hype, 2 Guns just might be the giddiest surprise of the summer season, a hilarious and hard-R action throwback to the days when it all it took to make a blockbuster was casting two seeming opposites and have them fight and bicker while inflicting maximum carnage on evil drug dealers. Stakeout, Lethal Weapon, 48 Hours – their DNA and (theoretically) unintentional homoeroticism runs strong in this one, which gives us Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as unlikely partners in crime who are both undercover (Denzel is DEA, Mark Navy Intelligence) and thinking that they’re setting the other one up. Believing they’re going to bust a Mexican crime lord, they instead, through a series of convolutions not worth spoiling here, end up stealing way more money than they had anticipated, and running afoul of about four different bad guys – and each other – in the process. They have to find out who set them up and why, but only if…get this, now…they can put aside their differences and learn to trust one another.
It’s basically a chaste screwball comedy, only with two guys and a large body count. Sure, Paula Patton shows off her breasts early on to provide hetero cover, but twenty-some exchanges of dialogue about cocks and balls later – not to mention a scene in which the two leads roll around in the dirt daring the other one to let go first – it’s clear where the real love is in this story. That their relationship both begins and climaxes in one firing a bullet into a safe area of the other’s body only puts the exclamation point on it.
All these images are from the official Facebook page. I’m not kidding.
Okay, okay…If you’re a teenage boy reading this, you’re probably mad at me right now. I would have been mad at me at your age, thinking those damned show-offy critics just see gayness everywhere. Don’t worry about it; there are boobies and you’ll like them. But knowing my readers as I think I do, I’d like to suggest you take a shot every time Washington and Wahlberg shoot each other knowing glances or suggestive banter. And make sure you have a designated driver.
None of this, by the way, is intended as an insult. It’s a tremendously entertaining tale, with the added bonus of being genuinely funny even if you do think my read of the subtext is BS. I will concede that there may not be a lot for female viewers to take away from the metaphorical dick measuring contest unless they’re already fans of this kind of thing – it’s very bang-bang macho, and the only ladies here are eye-candy at best, traitors at worst.
I think that code is called “the down-low”
Both leads excel at being cocky assholes who are lovable regardless, and initially 2 Guns is more than happy to let them do their thing. Director Baltasar Korm?kur (Contraband) and writer Blake Masters (Law & Order: LA) don’t rely on the movie to coast on their charms, though – convolutions pile on top of convolutions to keep the jeopardy escalating in unexpected directions. By the time both our heroes are hanging upside down waiting to be gored by a bull as baddie Edward James Olmos pisses on his own hands to prevent blisters, or something, you’ll wonder how the hell you got there, and where things can possibly go after. But we haven’t even discussed Bill Paxton’s loony Southern gun-nut who likes to make lengthy speeches about Russian Roulette.
Though it’s based on a comic-book miniseries, it’s one of those comics like Red that’s already sufficiently movie-inspired to begin with, such that the distinction hardly matters (Boom! Studios, which published 2 Guns, also does Die Hard comics). The viewer of a certain age is likely to feel time-warped in the best way – hell, Edward James Olmos and Bill Paxton as action villains in 2013? – while fans of the modern, “realistically styled” heroes like Jason Bourne may turn to us and ask, “You guys actually bought this shit?”
Yes . Yes we did. And like latter-day Fox Mulders, we once again want to believe.
I, for one, do not wish to quit these guys.