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‘Guns Akimbo’ (review)

Produced by Felipe Marino,
Joe Neurauter, Tom Hern

Written and Directed by Jason Lei Howden
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Samara Weaving
Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Ned Dennehy
Grant Bowler, Edwin Wright, Rhys Darby

 

I like this kid Radcliffe.

I love that he seems to just love acting and has used his fame and fortune to choose some interesting projects after the Harry Potter series.

I absolutely adored the oddity Swiss Army Man, and Radcliffe once again gives a fully committed performance in the bonkers new action film, Guns Akimbo.

Here he plays a snarky loser whose girlfriend has recently dumped him.

He subsequently takes vicarious pleasure in dissing the underground, online sensation Skizm, which cruelly pits real-life people in streaming death matches, much to the delight of viewers around the world.

After one diss too many, Radcliffe wakes up one morning with pistols bolted to both of his hands.

He is told that he must fight the winningest assassin, Nix, played by READY OR NOT badass Samara Weaving.

What follows is a hyper-caffeinated killfest with multiple pop-culture references sprinkled throughout.

I’ll admit, I’m probably not the audience for this film.

I loooove action films, but not the super-cartoony, hugely violent, nihilistic and frankly adolescent (hell, infantile) type on display here.

The references and comments got to be so predictable and obnoxious (and dumb) that by the time there was a hammer fight between two characters, I braced myself, cringing for the inevitable MC Hammer reference.

Even worse, Nix is introduced in an early sequence as being an amazing shot and a killer assassin.

And yet when faced with killing Radcliffe’s out-of-shape schlub, she can’t seem to hit him with a single round. Even as he runs in a straight line away from her!

I mean, I know it’s meant to be a lark and a hoot but come on. Let’s make a bit of an effort to introduce a modicum of believability.

I also felt the villains were yet another low-rent variation on Road Warrior-style creeps. Not especially exciting, guys.

That said, Weaving and most especially Radcliffe make Akimbo passable entertainment.

Radcliffe brings such likability and relatability to his character that he almost singlehandedly holds the film together with scotch tape.

He pulls off the schmuck-into-tough guy transformation quite well and brings zest to every line and gesture (just watch the way he enlivens a very funny, throwaway selfie gag).

So, a mixed bag to be sure. But thank you, Daniel Radcliffe, for making the whole endeavor palatable.

 

 

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