Director: Baltasar Kormákur.
Cast: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Edward James Olmos, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton, James Marsden.
THERE is something refreshingly workman-like about this action-comedy from little-known Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur.
Unlike other similar genre pieces, there are very few flashy sequences, no attempts to dress it up in stylistic visuals, and only a handful of slow-mo explosions.
Instead Kormákur lets the solid story, some neat surprises and its A-list stars do the work, making for few distractions and an enjoyable film.
However it also means 2 Guns does little to elevate itself above or distinguish itself from an overcrowded field of crime capers. In years to come, it probably won't be remembered as much more than "that film where Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg rob a bank" as opposed to a classic of the genre.
As Bobby (Washington) and Mike (Wahlberg), they are an oil-and-water pairing of crooks who pull off a heist that goes surprisingly well - instead of walking away with $3 million, the pair score $43 million.
But neither of the crooks is what they seem and each comes laden with baggage that sets a whole range of lunatics after them and the $43 million, including a psychotic CIA agent (Paxton), a shady naval officer (Marsden), and a Mexican drug lord (Olmos).
The results are tasty fun, with a solid helping of darkness on the side, but there is a slight feeling as you digest it all that it's a bit bland and generic in its flavours.
If you took the top-notch cast out of the equation, 2 Guns would certainly be a far lesser film. Washington and Wahlberg work wonderfully together, with Wahlberg in particular demonstrating his comedic skills once again (as seen in The Other Guys and Pain & Gain).
Also welcome is Paxton whose small screen focus of late means we've missed out on his under-rated character acting skills.
In the action stakes, 2 Guns has the pre-requisite number of shoot-outs, car chases and explosions, without going over the top too many times. The grand finale - a four-way Mexican stand-off ... in Mexico - is a pretty ridiculous, but it's one of the few set-piece mis-steps along the way.
But the film works best when Washington and Wahlberg share the screen. Their chemistry and banter drive the film through its twisting plot, which is also another highlight.
Generally, 2 Guns is sturdy. The script is decent and the dialogue is sharp - watch Wahlberg trade insults with some Mexican heavies or quip with Washington over breakfast for good examples.
The film won't set the world alight, nor is it an example of a great action-comedy. But it's good fun, builds to a relatively satisfying conclusion, and is made all the more watchable thanks to its mis-matched leads.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.