Here’s another big summer movie with nothing but bad guys—and a couple of so-called heroes who may not be worth cheering for, either. (In the movie’s opening scene they torch a perfectly charming diner.) 

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Photo by Patti Perret - © Universal Studios
Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg make a charismatic team and have swagger to spare, as soldiers-of-fortune who are hustling money and drugs on both sides of the Mexican border. But as we learn their rather complicated backstories it becomes difficult to decide if they’re good guys or not.

Few other characters who pose such problems, including James Marsden, Bill Paxton, and Edward James Olmos. They’re nasty to the core and their penchant for grisly violence makes a sharp, often uncomfortable, contrast with Washington and Wahlberg’s wiseguy repartee. Paula Patton walks a fine line as one of Denzel’s cohorts.

I don’t want to reveal any spoilers in the screenplay by TV veteran Blake Masters, based on Steven Grant’s graphic novel from Boom! Studios. Its so-called revelations aren’t shocking, especially in the context of a movie that makes it hard to care about the people on screen. It’s clear from 2 Guns and the earlier, equally mediocre Wahlberg vehicle Contraband that Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur is more interested in camera set-ups and flashy action staging than he is in characterization.

2 Guns presents itself to us as a “fun,” R-rated action yarn, but I never got in on the fun. Instead, it left a bad taste in my mouth.