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Patti Perret

DEA agents Bobby Trench (Denzel Washington) and Deb Rees (Paula Patton) in 2 Guns.

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★★★★✩

2 Guns

Directed by Baltasar Kormákur

Starring Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, and Paula Patton

Rated R

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Even though its A-list cast of Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg made me anticipate something along the lines of Man on Fire or Three Kings, it was clear five minutes into 2 Guns that, even though it would have lots of action and a maybe a pinch of drama, this movie was plain and simple — a laugh-out loud comedy. So I quickly adapted my expectations accordingly, and I am happy to report that I had more fun watching it than any other movie I’ve seen in a long time. 2 Guns is a blast! It’s so honestly funny and packed with good, old action that I’d pay to see it again.

The movie revolves around Bobby Trench, a seasoned DEA agent (played by Denzel Washington), and Marcus Stigman, a young and fresh-faced Navy intelligence agent (played by Mark Walberg) who overtly are a pair of crooks, yet unbeknownst to each other, are actually government agents, each conducting a separate undercover operation, without the knowledge and likely at the expense of the other. After robbing a bank, as part of their respective operations, things start to go wrong, and our heroes have to run for their lives. They find out that they are safer and more effective if they run for their lives together, as a team, and their partnership (‘bromance’ is a better word) is born.

The rest is a lot of shooting and jokes. The premise of this ‘action-driven comedy’ may have undertones reminiscent of Training Day, but both in tone and execution it is much closer to the hilarious and violent Get the Gringo, Mel Gibson’s post-meltdown redemption movie. Except here we have, instead of a single pseudo-hero, two full-blown heroes. The combination of Denzel and Mark works as a charm: Denzel as the alpha-male, and Mark as his willing sidekick. Their chemistry is sparkling and contagious, and carries the movie unencumbered by plot plausibility concerns through a story with more double-crosses than a cemetery in Tijuana, and more laughs than a Comedy Central special, until it reaches its climax inside the ranch of a drug dealer, with the mother of all Mexican stand-offs between four parties, all pointing guns at each other.

For a movie that begs not to be taken seriously, the production values are pretty high and the movie — although formulaic at many inflection points – avoids caricaturing its characters. The sole exception may be the Navy fellows, who come across as cardboard-like and ambivalent at best (which was the reason I knocked one star out of an otherwise five-star action comedy.) There are goring bulls, drug smuggling operations, dirty money, sex, shootings, corrupt policemen, betrayals and winks enough to last you for the rest of your summer. I highly recommend 2 Guns. Just set your expectations right, get the popcorn and relax — you are in for an exhilarating ride!