2 Guns Blu-ray Review
Breezily engaging buddy-buddy action
2 Lethal Weapons
Although treading distinctly familiar buddy-buddy territory, Icelandic actor/director Baltasar Kormakur's adaptation of the comic miniseries of the same name remains breezily entertaining largely as a result of Mark Wahlberg and the ever-dependable Denzel Washington.
It's nothing new, nothing original, and it probably doesn't even reach the standards set by the fun, guilty-pleasure that is Tango & Cash - let alone the genre-defining Lethal Weapon series to which it ultimately aspires - but the witty banter, sporadic drama and intermittently engaging action will easily hold your attention for the duration.It does exactly what it depicts in the poster, providing a rich, hyper-realised setting, colourful comic-book characters and fun-but-bloody R-rated action - which is, itself, a welcome respite after far too many PG-13-restricted actioners - all made considerably more enjoyable thanks to its two, gun-toting, charismatic leads. Washington and Wahlberg may not look back at this as a highly artistic peak in their respective careers, but it's still probably the most unabashedly fun action feature either of them has been involved in.
Shiny Guns2 Guns comes to UK Blu-ray with a Region B-locked package that appears to match up identically to the US counterpart, sporting the same largely excellent video and audio, and reasonably satisfying extras.
Indeed the video presentation – a 1080p AVC-encoded High Definition rendition in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen – is stunning, almost from start to finish. Detail is impressive, offering up excellent facial observation; highlighting skin textures, clothing weaves and varying levels of facial hair. Washington – in particular – looks as immaculately cool as ever. The colour scheme is also vivid and vibrant, with rich tones that are obviously over-saturated as per the colour grading, but which nonetheless pop and please at every instance. Digital defects are largely non-existent – there’s certainly no overt, excessive DNR application or noticeable edge enhancement.
There's only one sequence holding this back from being an unequivocal demo recommendation.
Black levels are where things start to unravel. For the most part, the darker sequences hold up to the highest scrutiny, rendering rich blacks with no loss of shadow detail whatsoever. In one sequence, however – the crossing-the-border-on-foot bit – things look far from pleasant. I can’t tell whether or not it was one of those odd day-for-night conversions, but this entire sequence really suffers in terms of image integrity. Blacks are washed out and objects crumble at the edges with crush a real issue, and one that is impossible to ignore. I don’t remember this being problematic at the cinema, but I do remember it looking slightly odd and, unfortunately, the video presentation simply can’t handle it, leaving it stunted by a single thorn which ultimately keeps this from being recommended as a demo presentation which, otherwise, it is.
Loud BangsOn the audio front there are no such reservations, and 2 Guns’s DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track delivers a thrumming, bass-driven, bombastic accompaniment which dominates with punchy score segments as much as exciting action sequences, keeping the offering loud and in-your-face most all of the time.
It's easily recommended demo material and earns just shy of a perfect-10 rating.
Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently despite all of this, reining over the gunshots and explosions, and dominating the frontal array wherever appropriate, but it’s the suitably punchy-with-swagger score and myriad effects that stand out. The LFE channel gets plenty to do as well, not just with the explosive content, but also from the score, and helps lend the proceedings some welcome weight.
Fully-loaded?Sporting the same reasonably comprehensive extras package as on the US counterpart we get a solid Audio Commentary from Director Baltasar Kormakur and Producer Adam Siegel – who engage with interesting background detail and production trivia, but whose supposed attempts at subversive action nods are not as obvious as they make them sound here – as well as a decent enough Making-of: Click Click, Bang Bang. Split into Undercover and into the Action; The Good, The Bad and the Sexy; Finding the Vibe and Living Dangerously, this 30-minute offering allows us behind the scenes glimpses into the production and plentiful cast and crew soundbites. There’s also a selection of some 8 Deleted Scenes, totalling an extra 12 minutes, a couple of which are interesting (the second Washington interrogation is worth checking out) but a couple of which are just brief and utterly inconsequential.
Worth a shot?If you're in the right mood, and prepared to go along for the ride, whilst it doesn't break any new territory, the reliably entertaining 2GUNS may still satisfy your buddy-buddy thriller quota for the year. This Region B-locked UK Blu-ray release boasts largely excellent video and audio elements as well as a reasonably comprehensive extras package. If you enjoyed the movie then this is a must-have release; otherwise it's definitely worth a rental, and maybe even a blind buy if you're a fan of the cast and the buddy-buddy genre.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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