‘2 Guns’ a retro blast

By Frank Ruggiero (frank@mountaintimes.com)

Article Published: Aug. 8, 2013 | Modified: Aug. 8, 2013
‘2 Guns’ a retro blast

From left, Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg star in '2 Guns.'

Gibson and Glover, Nolte and Murphy, Stallone and Russell, Hanks and Hooch.

The pantheon of buddy cop duos is hallowed Hollywood territory, a classic setup that, when done right, can yield some of the most enjoyable actioners on celluloid.

Add Washington and Wahlberg to that list.

The new action-comedy, “2 Guns,” might be low on imagination, but its more than talented cast is there to compensate, with the likes of Denzel Washington (“Glory”), Mark Wahlberg (“Three Kings”), Bill Paxton (“True Lies”), Edward James Olmos (“Blade Runner”) and Fred Ward (“Tremors”) locked and loaded for a trigger-happy fun time.

It’s Washington and Wahlberg, though, who steal the show with their undeniable chemistry and rapid-fire delivery, steeped in the spirit of “Lethal Weapon” and other banter-iffic classics.

Bobby Trench (Washington) and Michael Stigman (Wahlberg) are essentially two cops working toward the same goal, but they just don’t know it. Both unaware that their supposed partner in crime is undercover — Bobby from the DEA and Stigman from Navy intelligence — they’re each setting the other up to be the fall guy in a sting operation that would take down Mexican drug kingpin Papi Greco (Olmos).

This, however, involves the legally sanctioned robbery of a small Texas bank, which comes to prove that nothing is quite as it seems. Hoping to make off with $3 million of Papi’s drug money to use as evidence, the duo instead nabs upward of $43 million, drawing the cruel and sadistic attention of its mysterious owner, Earl (Paxton).

Both cut loose from their respective organizations, Bobby and Stigman must work together if they’re to elude both Earl and Papi, while also piecing together the mystery surrounding their respective betrayals.

As far as plot goes, it’s pretty standard stuff, but Baltasar Kormákur (“Contraband”), who directed the film based on a little known graphic novel of the same name, isn’t aiming for depth. He’s aiming for fun and nails his target.

And Kormákur plays it old-school, relying on traditional special effects and actual stunts instead of the typical go-to computer animation, lending the film a more classic, organic feel than most of its modern counterparts.

Naturally, the cast members, many of whom performed in the action classics to which “2 Guns” pays homage, feel right at home with the material and style, particularly Paxton, with his down-home, drawling psychopath.

The dialogue, especially between Washington and Wahlberg, is where “2 Guns” shines, upping the fun factor considerably in its numerous and progressively violent action sequences. The film is loaded with trifling twists and turns, as well as a standard-issue love interest (Paula Patton, “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”), but it’s all part of the formula that Kormákur and company seem keen to celebrate.

Is it “Lethal Weapon,” “48 Hours” or even “Tango and Cash?” Not quite, but “2 Guns” helps us remember just what made those classics and, as such, hits its mark.

“2 Guns,” rated R for violence throughout, language and brief nudity, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.

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