Rating: 2 out of 5
The last time Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg starred in a film together was… never.
But if this latest shoot-’em-up flick is anything to go by, the “W and W” chemistry is much needed for Hollywood’s lacklustre action department.
It recalls a certain “G and G” tag team, that of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, and their endearing bromance bickers in ‘Lethal Weapon’.
And it is this chemistry and dialogue style that save the movie, though just barely.
Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg save the day with their onscreen chemistry
Director Baltasar Kormakur (‘Contraband’, and a string of Icelandic films no one can pronounce) handles this with a slippery grip, and screenwriter Blake Masters (TV series ‘Law & Order’ and ‘Brotherhood’) can improve on the storyline.
Washington plays Robert “Bobby” Trench in his usual calm and collected style, and Wahlberg is Michael “Stig” Stigman, a swaggering, loud-mouthed, live-by-the-day sharp-shooter.
They are partners-in-crime, but unknown to Stig, Bobby is an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent and is using him to rob a bank of its US$3 million content belonging to Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos), the head of a Mexican drug cartel.
But after a planned heist that was not to be, Stig reveals that he is an undercover naval intelligence officer, and that is when things get a tad messy.
On top of figuring out who is robbing whom, questions are raised on whether the money belongs to the drug cartel, and if the DEA and navy are just using Bobby and Stig to loot a royal stash.
Just when you also wonder why the navy is in the picture, the CIA – led by a cold-blooded agent (Bill Paxton) – enters the mix.
From there on, it’s about opening one can of worms after another, which all leads to a bloody ending.
Once they are in the thick of the action, it’s easy to grasp how absurd it all is.
The only good part is still how Bobby and Stig react to it all with their trash-talking and a nonchalant attitude reminiscent of Bruce Willis’ in ‘Die Hard’.
Although Baltasar directed this in the same laidback, digestible pace as last year’s “Contraband”, when the movie escalates to all-out mayhem, he loses control of the gear and subsequently, the plot.
Without Denzel and Mark’s fast-talking and alpha male caricatures, this action flick would have been absolutely forgettable. The two stars in this review are given to its rightful owners.