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2 Guns

Year: 2013
Production Co: Boom Entertainment
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Writer: Blake Masters/Steven Grant
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington, Edward James Olmos, Paula Patton, James Marsden, Bill Paxton, Fred Ward

In an interview to promote Flight, when asked to talk about the film called 2 Guns that he had coming up next, Denzel Washington said it was he and Mark Wahlberg 'acting stupid'. That's the vapid, quick-witted, scatter-gun, blood soaked fun of 2 Guns in a nutshell.

Along with The Conjuring, it was another of the mid-level studio releases this year that caught on while the blockbusters floundered. Part of the reason might be because by the end of the 2013 northern summer, audiences were just exhausted from the world-smashing CGI, relieved to just see two guys shooting guns where all our lives aren't at stake.

We meet Trench (Washington) and Stigman (Wahlberg) planning a bank robbery while sitting across the street in a diner. We assume they're just low level hoods, but after they make off with a much bigger haul than they anticipated, things get a little nuts for them both.

It's only half an hour or more in that we learn they're actually both undercover agents – Trench for the DEA, Stigman for Navy Intelligence. Both have been on the trail of local drug kingpin Papi (Olmos), but they end up with a much more fearsome enemy on their tails in the shape of Papi's paymaster Earl (Paxton), who wants his money back.

Worse still, both their superiors are prepared to sell them out to cover up the political fallout from the score, and they have no choice but to team up to try and clear both their names.

With only their wits, odd-couple banter and a seemingly endless supply of ammunition, the bullets fly as fast as the quips and you'll have as much fun as Washington and Wahlberg do.

What's most interesting about the politics behind the story though is how Hollywood presumes (or knows) audiences view government agencies. The DEA and the Navy in this case (throw in the police, FBI and a few others) are seen as heroes working tirelessly for justice, while the CIA (which Earl's an agent of) is seen as constantly corrupted heavies.

It's actually a feature of another Denzel movie called The Siege, where the FBI and the army work together to secure America while the CIA is portrayed as a morally dubious exercise only too happy to get into bed with despots to protect itself rather than the American people.

In 2 Guns the lariat and fedora-wearing, faux-redneck Earl is a bully, sadist and killer, his actions completely devoted to reclaiming his blood money rather than intelligence.

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