time 103 minutes.
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.
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.
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.
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
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