Guns Akimbo (2020)
Director: Jason Lei Howden
Writer: Jason Lei Howden
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Samara Weaving, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Ned Dennehy, Grant Bowler, Edwin Wright, and Rhys Darby
Plot: An internet troll finds himself forced to participate in a killing based reality show.
Review: I’m gonna be honest. I didn’t know how to start off this review. I typed up a couple different things and nothing seemed appropriate. Then, I found this quote on Rotten Tomatoes that was too good. So, I’m going to essentially steal it. Christian C, an audience member who Rotten Tomatoes has deemed as a “Super Reviewer,” gave Guns Akimbo two stars and said “I don’t understand why this movie was made. It’s a grotesque orgy of excess, depravity, and hyperactivity crying out for a heavy dose of Ritalin.” Well… that’s all very true. But, unlike Christian, I FREAKING LOVED IT.
Guns Akimbo is a freaking roller coaster ride. Imagine having Edgar Wright’s cocaine addicted clone write and direct a movie that’s a mashup between The Truman Show and The Purge. That’s what this movie feels like. I think every scene was just trying to outdo the last. The violence and the dialogue were just so over the top, in the best way possible. It makes Deadpool look like a Disney backed MCU film by comparison. The pace is also ridiculous as we’re just thrown from one absurd thing to the next. The sense of humor is quite strong too. I was laughing almost the entire time. I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced a movie quite like this one. I can definitely see how some people would hate it, but I had a hell of a time just going along for the ride. Honestly though, I’m kind of a sucker for dark humor like this.
But, I’ve also had a lot of these high octane, balls to the wall action movies fail to catch my interest in the past. I think the main difference here is how incredible the two leads of Guns Akimbo are. Daniel Radcliffe is fantastic here. I love this trend he’s been on since he ended his run as Harry Potter. He’s gone down the Elijiah Wood/Robert Pattinson path of just taking whatever roles he wants to take. These guys don’t have to worry about money. They’re set for life, so why not have some fun? And, this is definitely a fun part. He’s an internet troll that just so happened to mess with the wrong people this time. He wakes up the next morning with guns attached to his hands and is told that he has to participate in a violent internet gameshow. Watching him try to figure out how to live his life with guns for hands was very entertaining.
Likewise, I loved seeing how this typical, nerdy, pacifist guy reacted to being thrown into something truly horrific and being forced to kill. I think Radcliffe brought a really genuine and funny take to it. It felt like how I and most of my friends would react in that situation.
Similarly, Samara Weaving continues to make a name for herself. Despite the movies sharing some DNA, she is completely different here than she was in Ready or Not. In this, she plays a grade-A badass from beginning to end. She’s Radcliffe’s competitor in the game, thus the one who is trying to kill him. But, unlike him, she is an expert assassin who has been dominating at the game for years. She’s got a crazy amount of weapons, an indomitable will, and has a hunter’s instinct that always seems to allow her to catch up. Honestly, she’s like the Terminator and Harley Quinn rolled up into one terrifying character. Yet, there’s a real touch of humanity to her. Weaving does an incredible job of making her both terrifying and also vulnerable, making her one of the more interesting characters I’ve seen this year. It’s quite the achievement. I was impressed by Weaving before, but now I’m convinced that she’s here to stay.
So, I definitely enjoyed Guns Akimbo. It’s not for everyone, obviously. But, if you’re down for a high octane, intense, violent, definitely not-pc thrill ride, you can’t do much better. It’s as fun as Baby Driver with all the violence of John Wick.
TL;DR: Guns Akimbo is a fun, super violent, non-stop thrill ride with strong performances from Radcliffe and Weaving.
Score: 8/10 (Great)