Back in 1996, my parents took my twin brother and I to the Stand for Children march on D.C. at the Lincoln Memorial. I remember tents with brochures on tables, anti-abortion picket signs, and Nickelodeon. During the actual march itself, a stoic gentlemen came up next to me. He was pretty nice, taking my pennant and putting a stick in it as a handle. As he walked on, I turned to my smiling dad and asked who that man was. It was Edward James Olmos.
During my viewing of his latest flick 2 Guns, I found myself remembering that trip; feeling good anxiety looking at those massive monuments, being paid attention by an actor my dad resp…
Did Edward James Olmos just deliberately wash his hands in his fresh stream of urine?
Mr. Olmos is really just a supporting antagonist in this movie. The main attraction is the team up of Denzel and Wahlberg. Both men play undercover investigators – partnering up but unknown to each other’s true identities – trying to bring down the Mexican cartel kingpin (Olmos). After robbing a bank, the investigators get more than they bargained for, uncovering multiple trails of deceit and government corruption. Will Wahlberg’s gum chewing and Denzels smile save the day?
From the director of Contraband (a movie that I reviewed for MovieBoozer), there is a similar charm going on here. It’s a not too serious story in a not too serious movie. It’s more concerned with having fun than anything else, and indeed it looks like the cast and crew were enjoying themselves. Denzel and Wahlberg are snapping back and forth with one another, clearly making the most of the time they have together. It’s a bit infectious.
Bill Paxton stretches some muscle as a money hungry C.I.A. agent. He’s not over the top evil, but confidently dastardly. Olmos plays his role with a similar philosophy as Al Brooks in Drive. He’s bad and brutal, but seems to have a code of respect and ethics, and even a sense of sadness as to what he has become. A small sense, but it’s there.
Impressive work. But…
… it’s not much fun for us. Yes, fun is happening ON SCREEN. No doubt. But, it feels harsh and forced at times. The chemistry between the leads is there, but the dialogue isn’t. Lines about donuts, waitresses and on the fly plans feel as though the people behind the camera wanted desperately to convince the audience that this was fun. See? They’re saying goofy things to one another. Isn’t it fun?
See the fun. Hear the fun. FEEL THE FUN!
People aren’t dumb. If a moviegoer were to wear ear plugs during this movie, the fun is evident. Remove the plugs, and it becomes redundant and overdone. WE GET IT! THEY’RE BUDDIES! IT’S FUN! STOP TRYING SO HARD AND LET THE ACTORS DO THEIR THING!
Somewhere in the middle of the runtime, I lost track of the double crosses, corrupt official reveals, who’s behind what, etc. It actually became exhausting keeping track. I gave up and just assumed that everyone except Denzel and Wahlberg were “bad”. And I was right.
How come I, an audience member, made things simpler than the movie I was watching?
Two things confused me. 1) The movie includes a scene where Olmos laments that Mexico is being exploited by the US Government, and even gets righteous about his motives. He sends our leads back to the States by having them travel with other Mexicans on a routine border crossing. A man is even rescued from drowning in a river during this journey. Was this making a point about how greedy and despicable our government is? Was it to give our heroes some time to think? Both? I dunno. Felt like a shoehorned message.
2) Olmos washes his hands in a fresh stream of his own pee before beating the leads with a bat. Is this a cultural thing? A sign of disrespect towards the men he’s about to torture? If so, shouldn’t he have touched them with his hands?
They sure had a good time making the movie, but I didn’t have a good time watching it. It’s not horrible, just kinda “eh”. But I did take something away that is worth noting; I will no longer touch that pennant Mr. Olmos gave me all those years ago. Not with my bare hands, anyways. I’ll still cherish it, though.
“Don’t worry; I washed my hands.”
Take a Drink: for each time Wahlberg puts a new stick of gum in his mouth.
Take a Drink: if you would comfort a crying baby during a bank robbery that you were committing.
Do a Shot: for when you realize that hotel maintenance crews don’t inspect the rooms as thoroughly as they should (it’s a key scene, actually).