Two men walk are in a smalltown near the U.S./Mexican border, Bobby (Denzel Washington) and Stig (Mark Wahlberg), and after a brief conversation they split up, Stig heading for the diner and Bobby into the bank across the street. While he's there he asks for a safety deposit box which he receives and then walks back to meet his friend in the diner, where breakfast is being ordered for him, though Stig's idea of what he wants is far from what Bobby actually does want. They converse some more, especially about Stig's habit of winking at waitresses, and then it's time to put the next stage of the plan into gear, starting with blowing up the establishment...
Then we flashback to a week before to work out what the hell was going on after this easygoing yet oddly immoral opening. This was yet another movie based on a comic book, this time directed by Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur who was becoming quite the action man after beginning his career in quirky drama back home, and you could tell by the way it played out that it had a glancing acquaintance with reality, as befitted its origins. In fact, what was most noticeable was the title was not exactly accurate, as there were not two guns here but about a hundred, indeed it became clear the only way the majority of the characters could communicate was with a firearm close by.
Preferably pointed at the person they were talking to, honestly it grew ridiculous the number of times a gun was drawn, so much so that it started to look like a running joke and not an intentional one, for there were strong signs comedy was on the agenda. Not so much that the audience would be rolling in the aisles, unless they were very easily pleased, but Washington and Wahlberg had a nice chemistry going and their banter was obviously designed to capitalise on that. At first Bobby and Stig are not entirely aware of who they are working with, because what they do not know is that both are actually agents, Bobby for the D.E.A. and his partner for the Navy, so they are not criminals at all, they just act like ones since they are undercover - imagine the laffs that ensue when they find out!
Well, mild chuckles anyway, but 2 Guns was a movie which embarked on a familiar journey of double cross and things going boom, which by all rights should have had you rolling your eyes and thinking yeah, yeah, movie star tough guys for the umpteenth time until you cottoned on that it wasn't aiming for anything groundbreaking, it was carrying on in the genre which didn't especially need messing about with, and if they were sticking with conventions here then that was down to them knowing what was successful. Not that there were no problems, for example there was only one female character with any amount of scenes, Bobby's girlfriend Deb (Paula Patton), and she was dismissed by the end with unseemly haste, as if to say who needs chicks when you have your best pal by your side?
So that was a throwback to the earlier years of action, one which demonstrated not only where the plot was paying homage, but that they didn't expect there to be any place for females in this style aside from the disposable girlfriend role, who gets her kit off and provides a reason for the hero to be aggrieved when something bad inevitably happens to her. Elsewhere in a rather good cast was Edward James Olmos as a Mexican drug kingpin who wants his money, James Marsden as Stig's corrupt superior who also wants that cash, forty-three million dollars of it, Bill Paxton as one more corrupt lawman who wants - ah, but you're ahead of me, you get the idea, nobody was innocent where heaps of moolah were concerned and running through this was a cynicism that there were no truly pure motives among the supposedly upright citizens we saw. As the gun obsession overwhelmed the narrative and our heroes solved their problems by becoming mass murderers, but all in fun of course, it was as if it was still the eighties and the action flick ruled. Twangy guitar music by Clinton Shorter.