Rob’s Car Movie Review: 2 Guns (2013)

Once upon a time in Hollywood, there used to be something known as the spec script market. It was the main conduit by which screenwriters who did not have contracts or relationships with movie studios and TV networks to get their scripts sold and produced.

Basically, it involved a writer hashing out an un-commissioned screenplay on his own time and dime, and then having an agent, manager, or lawyer solicit the property on their behalf to various production entities around town, until they hopefully made a sale. For decades, this was how a good portion of the movies made in Tinseltown were created.

In the late 1990s though, with production budgets, actors’ salaries, and marketing costs skyrocketing, studios and networks became highly risk averse, not wanting to invest large amounts of money on original stories in this manner. Instead, they began to rely on adaptations of preexisting material that already had large, devoted fanbases so as to hedge their bets on these large investments.

This essentially spelled the end of the spec script market, and made literary sources, such as cartoons, magazine articles, graphic novels, and comic books the main source material for films.

Comic books were, in most cases, the genesis for the wave of superhero films that began in the 2000s and continue to this day. Imagine my surprise then, when I learned that not only was there a buddy cop action comedy with big stars in it that was based on a comic, but that said film was a car movie too!

The picture, released in 2013, is called 2 Guns, and I’ve decided to make it this month’s subject of Rob’s Car Movie Review.

The theatrical one-sheet for 2 Guns. (Image courtesy of Universal Pictures,)

2 Guns was based on a comic series by the same name, conceived by Steven Grant and Mateus Santolouco. The property was optioned by Marc Platt Productions and was adapted into a screenplay by Grant and Blake Masters. Co-producing were Emmett/Furla Oasis Films, Oasis Ventures Entertainment, and Envision Entertainment, while Universal Pictures handled theatrical distribution in the United States.

Icelandic-born Baltasar Kormákur was handed the reigns to direct the attached star-studded cast, including Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, Edward James Olmos, Bill Paxton, James Mardsen, and Fred Ward.

Denzel Washington as Bobby. (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.)

The film’s story is a complex one, and has many twists, turns, and shock reveals that make it difficult to summarize without giving away a bunch of the movie’s surprises.

So as to not ruin things for those of you who haven’t seen it, I’ll just say that the movie revolves around two seemingly low-life crooks, Bobby (Washington) and Stig (Wahlberg), who rob a bank in Texas of monies belonging to drug lord Manny “Papi” Greco (Olmos).

Stig, portrayed by Mark Wahlberg. (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.)

The heist not only sparks the ire of Papi, but also draws the attention of a DEA agent, Deb (Patton), a Navy SEAL Lieutenant Commander (Mardsen), and even a high-level CIA operative, Earl (Paxton.)

Once these disparate figures are set into motion, it is slowly revealed that their motives, and even their very identities, are not what they seem. This eventually becomes the case for our main protagonists, Bobby and Stig too, creating a game of cat and mouse with ever-shifting sands under the feet of all involved.

Bill Paxton as CIA agent Earl. (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.)

2 Guns is a very well-crafted film, which reminded me of other personal favorites of this ilk such as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys, and The Usual Suspects.

The script is very tight, with all the wild machinations and cause-and-effect loops neatly tied together with great coherency. What’s more, the characters are all well-defined and crafted, and the dialogue is quite sharp and witty throughout.

Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington both put in excellent performances, as does Bill Paxton. (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.)

Performances are, as one would imagine based on the talent involved, universally excellent, with Washington, Wahlberg and especially Paxton serving up some terrific moments. The comedic chemistry between the two leads is high, with their buddy-buddy on-screen relationship yielding some truly hilarious moments.

The look of the film is slick, and all the technical facets, such as editing, sound design, and action coordination are top-notch.

And then there’s the cars.

The first shot in the film is of Bobby and Stig rolling in a 1970 Dodge Challenger. (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.)

To my delight, the very first shot in the movie is of Bobby and Stig rolling into a small town in one of my favorite muscle cars of all time – a 1970 Dodge Challenger.

Resprayed in matte black with a bunch of aesthetic modifications, including a set of Magnum 500 style wheels, a silver painted grille insert, aftermarket mirrors, and of all things, door handles from what looks like a 1970s Ford or GM vehicle, the Challenger gets a good amount of screen time, although it doesn’t partake in any high-speed action.

The Challenger has a number of modifications to it, including some door handles that are not original. (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.)

We never get a look under the hood, but location audio of the car’s exhaust suggests to me it might be a 318, 340, or 383 V8. By the looks of the car with its paint scheme and other details, it may in fact be one of the Challengers that was previously used in the dystopian futuristic sci-fi film, In Time.

Another Mopar that makes an appearance in the film is a black 2012 Chrysler 300. Judging by the car’s exterior trim, such as the mirror caps and wheels, it is a 300C model, and sounds like it is outfitted with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8.

A black 2012 Chrysler 300C also makes an appearance in the film. (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.)

Unlike the Challenger, the 300 does get to go fast a couple of times in the movie, including one chase scene. Rounding out the Mopar contingent in the film is a silver 2011 Dodge Charger, which is also involved in a brief high-speed pursuit.

Two more cool cars that make appearances are a bright red 1964 Chevy Impala Super Sport convertible, and a heavily modified ’79 Ford Bronco. Sadly, as Hollywood is so fond of doing, both are utterly destroyed in a pair of action sequences.

Sadly, This beautiful Impala convertible is destroyed at the film’s climax. (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.)

2 Guns is one of the better films of its ilk that I’ve seen in a while. Its combination of effective plot twists, character shapeshifting, and excellent performances, plus a handful of excellent cars make it a must-see in my book. Thusly, I can confidently give the movie a seven out of ten piston rating, and suggest you stream it as soon as you can. You’ll enjoy it. Trust me.

About the author

Rob Finkelman

Rob combined his two great passions of writing and cars; and began authoring columns for several Formula 1 racing websites and Street Muscle Magazine. He is an avid automotive enthusiast with a burgeoning collection of classic and muscle cars.
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