“You’re my people and we have a code. You fight for the guy that’s fighting next to you.”
Based on Steven Grant’s own comic book series in the same name which was published on April 1, 2007! This is a story of two undercover agents as they try to infiltrate a drug cartel and bring enough evidence to their respective superiors to end their tribulation. But there’s one problem, as partners in crime, they don’t know who the other guy really is and it’s just the tip of the iceberg! Steven inclines his work on grounded crime fiction that focuses on the action-thriller genre involving spies, government officials and the law! I even had one of his works from the Hardy Boys collection titled “Final Gambit” under the pen name of Franklin W. Dixon; it had non-stop suspense at the end of each chapter in which case has always been its usual run of the mill selling point!
Director Baltasar Kormákur (Contraband) the Iceland native has been working hard to seize the moment in making quality films that not only that his people can appreciate but for the world to see and experience! Although having only a handful of Hollywood films, he never hesitates to get bigger projects that still involve stories that inspires and make the audience come back for more! This is also his second collaboration with Mark Wahlberg.
After an explosive first meal of the day, we get on with the program! So what happens when you put together Academy Award Winner Denzel Washington (Man on Fire) and Golden Globe Nominee Mark Wahlberg (The Other Guys)? It’s definitely a non-stop entertainment guaranteed! I have to commend the screenplay of Blake Masters (Brotherhood) which complements the delivery of these two very spontaneous actors as they try to outsmart each other including the DEA, The Naval Intelligence and the Mexican Mob. No problem with these guys right?
The characters played by Denzel and Mark was definitely in line with the comic books except for a diversity hire that makes Robert “Bobby” Drench a lot cooler and street wise demeanor! On the other hand, Marcus “Stig” Stigman also known as Steadman really suits Mark’s trigger happy persona while also complementing his fast talking, eye winking smooth moves with the ladies!
Edward James Olmos (Dead Man’s Walk) as the “cock and bull” (pun intended) raiser and of course more importantly the filthy rich drug dealer that everyone is trying to get their hands on! His name is simply Papi Greco who connives with a couple of criminals as they try to make the deal to permanently put him behind bars. Edward as far that I can remember was with two cops years earlier but in that time he was on the side of the law from the hit series “Miami Vice”, he tends to speak when needed as he always does but be aware that he carries a big bat to go along with his taciturn ways! He runs in with an old friend from the aforementioned television series, Emmy Award Nominee Bill Paxton (NAVY SEALs) another exemplary feat, he is “over eager to get my money back” Earl, a Black Ops Operative who has anger management issues with a penchant for the “game of your life” Russian Roulette!
That was just the main antagonists, but wait there’s more! Robert John Burke (Brooklyn’s Finest) is DEA Head of Operations Jessup who has someone working inside, snooping the mob for the last ten years and he’s not happy with his agent’s performance so far! While on the other side of town, for once, there is some good things coming in for James Marsden (X-Men) as Naval Commanding Officer Harold “Harvey” Quince, typical he got that name for being a “trickster” who runs an incompetent group of sailors at least one of them can actually find some levity and bring these people to justice!
But before we get out of the cross fire, Paula Patton (Mission: Impossible IV: Ghost Protocol) as Deb Rees, it’s an understatement that she has two masters to serve giving a predicament that she can never escape and that fate awaits her assuming if comes out of this alive with the money and the man she loves at her side!
There was not much to decipher just to get from point A to B, with hard working con agents gathering information and making a lot of gun crazed, money greedy maniacs running after them like headless chickens! With a comprehensible script, it never had a down moment considering that even if there were plenty of players in the field which makes the direction and the screenplay impeccable as they find the right moments to tell the story without capsizing it with ballistics and explosives!
It also got into a laughing spree when Stig and Drench give each some sarcastic bantering whether it was ordering food, shooting defenseless chickens and trying to get into each other’s nerves. I can see that there are signature moves with Denzel that makes you see he’s into that serious mood and suddenly gives you that killer smile! While Mark tries to be a jerk and gives you his “machine gun mouth”, thrash talking gives him some credit especially with his mood swings coming around the bend! It had fast paced action, brutal shootouts, brotherly fisticuffs and whole lot of comedy to wrap things up! Especially on the latter, it’s a film that you can sit down and enjoy with a lucrative cast and a commendable twist from the creator Steven Grant.
They say that you can’t teach “old dogs new tricks” but there is always a an exception to the rule, it might not be considerate for everyone but at least it can give you a head start while trying to dodge the bullet until you get across the border of Mexico and let’s just hope these two can get to Russia in time for the “revolution” and find a way to their sequel!