"2 Guns” (Action/Crime: 1 hour, 49 minutes)
Starring: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Rated: R (Violence, profanity, thematic elements and nudity)
Movie Review: Robert "Bobby" Trench (Washington), a DEA agent, and former naval intelligence officer Michael "Stig" Stigman are pursued on multiple fronts after they fail to infiltrate a major drug cartel. The main thing is that these guys are unaware who the other person is. They learn to trust each other as they are betrayed by others.
For a movie with major stars, this movie is lackluster. This is not because Washington and Wahlberg are not good together. Their camaraderie is enjoyable. The script in which their characters exist is not solid material. That is the problem. The plot is a mixture of comedy and drama. The comedic bits entertain, and the action bits make one laugh for other reasons. Good and bad individuals interact but their associations are very believable. This exists throughout this film. Again, this is not because of the efforts of Washington and Wahlberg. They do their best.
Also, this film is very much like “Safe House” (Director Daniel Espinosa, 2012), which starred Washington. Therefore, it feels like something seen before.
It is just difficult to put manure in a toilet and call it gold. However, Washington and Wahlberg try.
Grade: C (These guns misfire.)
“The Smurfs 2” (Adventure/Fantasy: 1 hour, 47 minutes)
Starring: Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays
Director: Raja Gosnell
Rated: PG (Violence)
Movie Review: This animated adventure is a follow-up to 2011’s “The Smurfs," which Gosnell also directed. It is more intriguing, as it attempts to be more dramatic than its prequel. However, the adventure presented is still as mild as its prequel.
Gargamel (Azaria) abducts Smurfette (voice of Katy Perry). The wizard wants Smurfette to tell him how to make Smurfs using a spell of Papa Smurf (voice of the late Jonathan Winters). If Smurfette tells Gargamel the secret spell of Papa Smurf, Gargamel will be able to turn his latest creations, creatures called the Naughties, into Smurfs. Then, the malevolent wizard can harvest the magical powers of the created Smurfs to become more powerful.
“Smurfs 2” fails because the main purpose of this film does not highlight the Smurfs. They should be the main characters considering they are the titular subject of this fantasy. They are not. Instead, Gargamel is.
Azaria is a talented voice actor. He easily makes Gargamel entertaining if nothing else. Although the character is over the top at times, Gargamel is enough of a distraction to keep one from seeing the terrible moments clearly. Conversely, this is not enough.
“Smurf 2” has three plots that simultaneously merge with little effect. The characters are just bland personas that entertain slightly.
Grade: C (Mildly Smurfy.)