Fade in. Two cops from opposite ends of the spectrum in every way — looks, demeanor, even department — are framed by drug dealers or their boss, forcing the pair to go on the run and clear their names. What’s the title, you ask? “Tango & Cash.” Maybe “Lethal Weapon.” Maybe its just one cop, like “Eraser.” None of those gems from the ’80s and ’90s? So, in 2013, there’s another movie like that? Indeed there is.
That movie is “2 Guns.”
In this iteration of that time-tested formula, Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg play the framed cops looking to clear their good names. Bobby Trench (Washington) and “Stig” Stigman (Wahlberg) have no idea they’re both unvercover, building up a case against an aging drug lord — and each other. When they steal $43 million in cash that happens to belong to the CIA, things get heavy for the two down on the United States/Mexico border.
Washington and Wahlberg, two actors with Oscar nominations (and in Washington’s case, two statues) are so much better than “2 Guns.” This film is literally nothing more than a paycheck for the pair. Denzel plays, well, Denzel and Wahlberg spends the entire movie clowning around like he’s doing his version of Mel Gibson’s Martin Riggs from the “Lethal Weapon” movies. Slumming it in a movie like this would be acceptable if there was something new brought to the table, like an over-the-top style or freakishly ridiculous action. “2 Guns” has neither.
Baltasar Kormakur, who worked with Wahlberg on the forgettable “Contraband,” lacks the kind of distinctive visual style needed for a B-movie of this caliber to work. He doesn’t know how to engage the audience and he definitely doesn’t have the eye for imagery even a hack like Michael Bay has. It seems like all he does is point the camera at the actors and film what’s happening. The action belongs in a direct-to-DVD movie, the actors, even in the most tense situations, seem like they’re on vacation having a blast and the plot itself is so predictable every double-cross is visible from a mile away.
A movie like “2 Guns” is typical for this time of year. Late in the summer, kids are going back to school and audiences are tired of the massive blockbusters, looking for something even less brainy at the multiplex. Usually those movies star Jason Statham, not A-listers like Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. “2 Guns” would’ve been a fun but forgettable actioner if it had put forth even the slightest bit of effort. Instead its nothing more than a two-hour exercise in watching people count money in their heads.