They’re the best of friends and the coolest of bank-robbing criminals. But Robert Trench (Denzel Washington) and Marcus Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) have each been hiding something from the other – namely, that they work undercover for the US government. Trench is Drug Enforcement Agency, while Stigman is Navy intelligence, and they’re both trying to infiltrate the same drug cartel run by the bullish Papi Greco. After they hit a small-town savings-and-loan where Greco supposedly funnels his cash, they get quite a surprise, and soon have everyone from gangland heavies to the CIA on their tails.
Adding another American mediocrity to his bi-national oeuvre, Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur at least keeps the early sections of this slam-bang-boom action flick fleet and intriguing. The sunburned Southern US locales are nicely utilised, and Washington and Wahlberg have clearly been encouraged to riff and rap with each other to their heart’s delight (never underestimate the power of two stars going at it). It also helps that the graphic-novel-inspired film is scripted by Blake Masters, who certainly knows a thing or two about memorable characterisation. Even supporting players like Olmos and Bill Paxton get meaty roles to sink their teeth into. A shame, then, that 2 Guns quickly degenerates into boilerplate Hollywood sound and fury, with a climactic Mexican standoff that revolves around a massive, burning pile of money. Irony, thou art lost. Keith Uhlich
Dir Baltasar Kormákur
Category IIB, 109 mins, opens on Thu Sept 12