2 Guns movie review: Ebony and ivory

Aug 2, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. ET

This unbuddy cop movie is a fresh take on the good old shoot ‘em up. While the plot feels a bit taxing on our brain cells, Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg share chemistry that sizzles on the silver screen.

2 Guns

3 Stars: Perfect for fans of buddy-cop movies

We meet Stig (Mark Wahlberg) and Bobby (Denzel Washington) at a small-town diner directly across from a bank. The diner is known for having the best donuts in the county (this is code for the diner being a cop magnet) and the bank is thought to house a drug lord’s $3 million bounty.

Stig and Bobby seem like besties, sharing witty banter about flirting with the waitress and the sum of a proper tip. But we quickly realize they mean business when they burn up the diner before knocking off the bank. They appear to be a couple of crooks, freelancing for Mexican kingpin Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos), but each has a secret.

2 Guns

They make a clean getaway, but are concerned because what was supposed to be $3 million in cash is actually $43 million in Benjamins. Turns out Stig works undercover for the U.S. Navy, thinking Bobby will just be thrown in jail after the operation. But Stig is shocked to discover that Bobby isn’t just a drug smuggler but actually DEA.

All these twists would be fine for Stig and Bobby, except that they’ve both got themselves in hot water with corrupt CIA Agent Earl (Bill Paxton), not to mention Stig’s dirty Naval commander, Quince (James Marsden), who promptly takes the millions and stashes them away.

Throw in Bobby’s jilted lover and fellow DEA agent Deb (Paula Patton), and one thing's for sure: the world of good guys and bad guys has been turned on its head. And that’s in just about the first 30 minutes.

So it’s a bit of a complicated setup for an action gunslinger, but Washington and Wahlberg are just so darn good at their jobs, it makes piecing together the flip-flopping plot worth it.

2 Guns: Trailer, cast and more >>

2 Guns

Earthy beauty Paula Patton makes for a seductive love interest, but be warned: everyone in this film has a secret and not all of the characters will make it out alive.

Bottom line: 2 Guns is loaded with great star power, but those guns fire a lot on both people and animals. Luckily, the humor makes up for any awkward or stomach-turning moments.

Run time is 1 hour, 49 minutes. There are no extra scenes after the credits.

Photo credit: Universal Pictures