The buddy cop movie will never die.
As long as people are pointing cameras at other people and creating fiction, someone will be working riffs on the notion of two dudes with guns who have to deal with one another to accomplish something. There have been thousands of these films so far, both from Hollywood and from indie filmmakers, and I feel like I’ve sat through every single one of them.
In most cases, it comes down to chemistry. If you get the right two guys, the formula works. When I was part of the Warner Archive Instant beta test, one of the first movies I watched was “Freebie and the Bean,” because it’s freakin’ “Freebie and the Bean.” Alan Arkin and James Caan appear ready to beat each other to death in almost every scene of that film, and it makes me cackle every single time I see it. Sometimes you’ll see a variation on the equation like one of the people isn’t a cop, but is instead a convict, a la “48 HRS.” Or you’ll get the suicidal crazy guy teamed up with the straight arrow, a la “Lethal Weapon.”
“2 Guns” looks like it starts with two guys robbing a bank, each of them unaware that the other person is a law enforcement officer. It’s not until after the robbery that they learn the truth, and that sets them off on what looks like a really bloody, lunatic ride. Director Baltasar Kormakur directed “Contraband” with Mark Wahlberg, and that must have been a good experience for the two of them, because they’re reteamed on this one. Throw Denzel Washington into the mix, and things get really interesting.
I love that Wahlberg has already deconstructed this particular sub-genre in the witty and ridiculous “The Other Guys,” and I like that this film looks to have a healthy sense of humor about itself as well. Denzel has such a laconic sense of cool that works well in contrast to Wahlberg’s earnest dim bulb persona that I expect this will be a winning combination.
We’ll find out when “2 Guns” opens on August 2, 2013.