This review first appeared in the Sunday Star-Times, 6th October 2013
Now we have no more Tony Scott, it falls to the likes of Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur (Contraband) to pair up Denzel Washington and some young buck to play the odd couple who fight crime, one another, and shoot stuff up. Here, the whippersnapper is the middle-aged but eternally buff Mark Wahlberg, somewhat faxing in his usual performance of buffoon-meets-brute but nonetheless delivering some snappy lines and indisputable chemistry as these two movie stars vie for screen dominance.
The “big reveal” in the story is treated lazily but I shall still protect you from any spoilers, in the hope you’ll get more enjoyment by knowing less. Suffice it to say, criminals may not be criminals, and goodies may not be good. The mildly confusing plot with flashes-back and –forward isn’t quite interesting enough to care about, but then suddenly there are pockets of serious acting which manage to keep you engaged.
It’s Déjà Vu all over again as Washington is reunited with Paula Patton as his on-off love interest, Patton surprisingly reduced to topless scenes and showing none of the chutzpah in her previous role (which was under Tony Scott’s direction). More impressive is James Marsden, a million miles from Hairspray and 27 Dresses, as the buzz-cutted naval boss.
The gold-toothed Washington plays it a bit like his Oscar-winning crooked cop in Training Day, but unfortunately the limits of the script and story mean this is mainly just a guns and gags movie. Fun but forgettable.