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2 Guns (5/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time 103 minutes.

Not for children.

This movie epitomizes how the wise-cracking buddy movie has changed since Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). From the clean, relatively non-violent fun of Robert Redford and Paul Newman, it has now progressed to terribly violent shenanigans of Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington in a caper film filled with filthy language and F-bombs about two guys who get involved in drug dealings with Mexican drug lords.

In the olden days (pre-Obama), I could not accept films that showed the U.S. Government as being callous and criminal. Now, with a government that calls the IRS targeting conservative groups and the abandonment of a U.S. Ambassador and his Navy SEAL defenders to their violent deaths “phony scandals,” it’s not hard to accept a corrupt U.S. Navy, CIA, and DEA, all of which is what you get in this film, which was written by Blake Masters, based on a graphic novel by Steven Grant and directed by Wahlberg buddy Baltasar Kormákur (who also directed the excellent 2012 Wahlberg sleeper hit, Contraband). In fact, according to this film, the CIA and Navy are full of cold-blooded killers who aid and abet international drug traffickers. Since the U.S. supplied international drug traffickers with high velocity automatic weapons in the “Fast and Furious” scandal, this is no longer hard to believe in a movie. Spoiler alert in the next paragraph.

Worse, though, is the gratuitous violence and frivolous depiction of death and shooting. Both stars shoot each other with little or no effect and they do it as a joke. In fact, when Washington shoots Wahlberg at the end of the movie in the leg (because there’s a lot of flesh there and it can’t do much damage, according to the actors), Mark just hobbles off arm in arm with Denzel. In real life, however,  there’s a major artery that runs through the leg, the femoral artery, and if a bullet would pierce it, while it might not hit a bone or organ, it could be just as fatal as slitting a throat or a shot to the heart.

Movies are a tremendous influence on how people act, especially naďve, gullible young people. It’s not unreasonable that a scene like this could lead the impressionable to shoot someone in the leg as a joke, relying on this movie. Scenes like this are simply irresponsible. Someone who doesn’t have a frat boy mentality should have questioned this and deleted it from the final cut. I’m disappointed in both Wahlberg and Washington, actors I admire, for participating in something like this. It could have been cleaned up but they strove, instead, for the easy but reprehensible.

So even though this movie is entertaining, I can’t recommend it as highly as I ordinarily would because of its fatuous view of violence and the effects of gunshots.

July 30, 2013