Friday, November 27, 2020

Guns Akimbo: Flawed Insanity

Reel Reviews

Normally, I try to keep current events out of my reviews, but I’m going to have to make an exception this one time. Just about all non-essential businesses have been forced to shut down, including the movie theaters. However, just because the theaters are closed, doesn’t mean there aren’t alternative ways of seeing movies. Sure, sites like Netflix have a vast library of cinemas to check out, but one of their flaws is they tend to take their time when it comes to acquiring recent releases.

Do not fret, dear readers. Though we can’t leave our homes, there are plenty of new releases that are being ported to online rental. As for where you can find them, there’s a vast selection of legal and safe websites where you can rent films from the comfort of your Computers, Smartphones, Consoles, or Smart TVs.

  • Google Play
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • iTunes
  • Vudu
  • YouTube Movies. 

So, until the theaters reopen, and we can all return to our regularly scheduled lives, I’ll be providing a new review WEEKLY for the Coastal Breeze News. My only regret is I wish I had picked something better to start out with. Given current events, I thought a good action/comedy would be the best film to pick. Something to enjoy and take your mind off the problems going on in the world. Well, “Guns Akimbo” did one of those things as it left me fumbling to discern what in the world I was watching.

The film takes place in an alternative near future. An organization under the name Skizm hosts underground fights where they make opponents battle to the death, all while streaming the shows live over the internet for all audiences. Miles Harris (Daniel Radcliffe), an ordinary computer programmer and complete wimp, happens upon the site and accidentally insults the kingpin in charge of the death show—Riktor (Ned Dennehy). After being drugged and kidnapped, Miles awakens to find a pair of handguns bolted to his hands and finds out he’s now a new contestant for the next Skizm match. With a mad psychopath chasing him down, and another monitoring his every move, Miles is going to have to figure out how to fight back, all while having two guns strapped to his hands.

We’ve all seen this type of story at least once. A bumbling nobody finds himself/herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, then goes on a journey where they have to step into the spotlight and become a hero. To be honest, while it’s a simple concept, it’s one I don’t mind. It’s the Hero’s Journey of storytelling. You take an unlikely hero, put them up against a despicable antagonist, and we follow the hero as he/she overcomes challenges and becomes stronger so they can stop the villain and save the day. It’s one of the reasons why I picked “Guns Akimbo.” From the plot alone, I was expecting more of a gladiatorial type of story where our protagonist has to face different and unique challenges the villain sends his way, mixed with insane action and a comedic tone. I’ve seen numerous films do this and succeed; “Deadpool,” “Hardcore Henry,” “Django Unchained,” and many more.

Unfortunately, what I got was an aimless story with enough plot holes to fill a moat. In a good movie, you know what the main character(s) goal is, and where the plot wants to go. In a great movie, you know all the previous stuff, but the film subverts your expectations and throws in a curveball. However, in “Guns Akimbo,” I had no clue where the plot wanted to go as I watched Daniel Radcliffe stumble from scene to scene. Even when I thought the plot was gearing up, it throws something else in front of my face and shouted, “Okay, this is happening now!”

As far as the action goes, it’s okay, but that’s not the kind of answer you want to hear in an Action/Comedy Film. For a movie that sets up this plot about an online underground fight club with numerous insane fighters with their own quirks and strengths, we NEVER see them in the movie—or at least, we never see our main hero combat them. Instead, he’s constantly attacked by ONE character as he bumbles his way from one fiasco to the next. 

Here, I can summarize most of the plot in one sentence: Daniel Radcliffe wanders into the scene, looks confused and ill, bad guy shoots at him, he shoots back while running away, end scene. If that alone doesn’t convince you this action film is sunk, allow me to put it another way. If you were to put someone like John Wick or John Wayne into the same story, the bad guys would have all been defeated by the first half-hour. 

Now, show of hands, who here hates an action film where they shake the camera? Well don’t worry, there’s none of that here. Instead, they take it to the next level where they actually FLIP and SPIN the camera. Look, I’m all for creative ideas and new forms of visual storytelling, but there’s a fine line between an artistic choice that makes your audience intrigued, and a poor choice that makes your audience ill. Plus, I’m about 70% certain that the guy who wrote and directed this film was under some sort of substance. Or maybe three.

“Guns Akimbo” is rated R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, drug use, sexual references and brief graphic nudity. While it’s not the worst action movie I’ve seen, and I’ll admit it had some interesting ideas, it just doesn’t work in the execution. All in all, this seems like a movie that’s meant for the college student audience—something they’d watch with their pals in the dorm room to kill an hour or two. For everyone else, I’d recommend another film, because this movie has one too many flaws and not enough strengths to earn a viewing. Which is why the final score for “Guns Akimbo” is a 6 out of 10.

Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. He currently serves as a Journalist and Copy Editor to the Coastal Breeze News and is working on becoming a Published Author.

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