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This image released by Universal Pictures shows Denzel Washington, left, and Mark Wahlberg in a scene from "2 Guns." (AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Patti Perret)

The question is, who are these guys, Bobby and Stig? We’re introduced to them as they scope out a small-time bank for dubious purpose. It’s hard to tell whether these two are friends — or what? There seems to be a certain rapport in the partnership, but from the get-go, there’s also an unspoken wariness.

This is a difficult movie to describe without revealing way too much of a by-design-complicated plot. Let’s just say that dubious drug dealers, including “Papi,”played by Edward James Olmos, tainted DEA cops and the CIA are all very interested in and quite upset by the liberation of 43-plus million dollars from the safe deposit vault of the Tres Cruces Bank. And guess who pulls off the job? Right, Bobby and Stig — and to say the least, the grand total is a little startling to them as well. So, what is going on and why is this little backwater bank the repository for so much cash? If I answered any of the above, it would ruin the movie for you.

As all of this unwinds, it’s hard not to be impressed with the abilities of Bobby and Stig. Let’s just say that they seem to have more “skills” and resources than your garden-variety crooks. Denzel and Wahlberg have real chemistry and even deliver a few memorable “buddy” moments. Then there’s Bill Paxton and good old Earl, who represents the CIA and whose character seems to be a refugee from a Tarantino film. Who can’t like a guy who is so fond of Russian roulette? Of course, a film like this has to have a beautiful and even somewhat mysterious femme fatale, right? Enter Paula Patton as Deb, a DEA agent supplying much of the spice and steam that certainly contribute to the R rating.

Comment on this story

“2 Guns” undermines itself with every person in a position of power and authority being portrayed as a total slimeball or sell-out. I get the message of corruption here, but come on, throw me a bone. Isn’t there one upper-level good guy out there?

The filmmakers have woven together great action scenes laced with compelling dialogue, humor and moments that are chilling and even disturbing.

I have to admit I had hoped for more, but “2 Guns” is entertaining but richly deserves its R rating. I’m giving the film 3 stars.

Email: dwright@deseretnews.com