Basically Harry Potter has guns stuck to his hands. Lets go!
Spoilers but not really.
I saw a promotional shot of this film ages ago, I’m sure you’ve probably seen it at some point as well. The shot (below) has been in heavy rotation on meme sites for years now, even before any context was offered. (much like the shot of Radcliffe smoking and walking all those dogs – it was for a film called Trainwreck btw!) But since then i’ve been intrigued by this project.
Whats The Deal?
So basically Miles (Daniel Radcliffe) is a bit of a loser in a dead-end programming job who regularly takes to the Internet to troll people. His favourite trolling ground is the comments section of Skizm – a sort of violent cat and mouse game show that takes place in his city. Miles is attacked by a gang of thugs and awakes to find they have surgically grafted pistols to both of his hands. Miles is now taking part in Skizm!
It’s a fairly simple plot that borrows elements from The Running Man and Crank but it’s also got that electric and dark sense of humour about it. There’s a self awareness of its own absurdity with an underlying commentary on mass media but it chooses to stay light-hearted.
This film is presented as loud and stylish right from the opener. It’s gritty as hell and strange enough to be considered kooky in between peoples heads exploding.
There are vibes from 2008’s Wanted (film and comic) and 1999’s Fight Club in the portrayal of Miles, with the execution of gunplay giving off a distinctly John Wick flavour.
Editing presents some lovely transitions and tells a story of it’s own. The lighting in this film is very special indeed with great use of colored lighting and gels scattered around the scenery to produce an almost comic book effect. Filters are used liberally and apply a layer of atmosphere depending on the temperature of the scenes. There are even some fun asides which appear in the form of emoticons and very stylish narration cards.
There’s a hilarious sequence where Miles has to go to the toilet which puts the characters dilemma into perspective nice and early. As an audience we feel for Miles with his every hardship. Trying to access his phone, put on trousers or open a door. It doesn’t help that he’s wearing the worst possible clothing available. He gets noticeably better with these tasks as the film progresses.
The game show featured in the film, Skizm reminded me somewhat of a show that aired on Channel 4 back in the day, that i believe was brought back in some form more recently (the latest incarnation was called Hunted). After some digging i realized the show was called WANTED. You can read about it here. But the premise was similar, without the ultra-violence obviously.
Guns Akimbo is fun and a bit wacky, like Jason Statham‘s Crank (2006) or Hardcore Henry (2015) in that it takes a goofy premise and runs with it – balls out.
Daniel Radcliffe does an excellent job in this film. His accent is believable and solid enough that it doesn’t take anything away from his performance. To harken back to Crank – I can imagine Jason Statham in this role but it would be a completely different film and not very good at all. Radcliffe really adds something believable to it.
I feel like Daniel Radcliffe is cultivating the same goodwill that people have online for Keanu Reeves. I’m not comparing their careers, i’m saying I firmly believe people only want the best for him. He seems like a genuinely decent bloke. Hit me up Dan.
Samara Weaving puts in a great performance as the coke-fueled gun-totting badass Nix, and Rhys Darby makes a fun appearance as a crackhead.
An aggressively uptempo soundtrack plays a joyfully intrusive part in the proceedings. It occasionally dips jauntily into 8-bit styles and sound FX at random intervals but helps the film along nonetheless. And not to put too fine a point on it – Stan Bush makes any film soundtrack better. That’s just a fact.
The pacing in this film remains foot-to-the-floor for most of the run and i imagine (if not for the great plague) it would have been a treat to see it unfold on a big screen.
I enjoyed this one – it was mindless fun with strong performances all round. The way it should be. I’m not sure Guns Akimbo has any real repeat watchability factor, but it was definitely a high-octane gun-fuelled adventure for a chilled afternoon.
If a sequel ever materializes i’d watch it. Not to give too much away, it’s open. Did you not see the spoiler warning??
Anyway, it’s a decent watch. G’wan.
Guns Akimbo is streaming now on Prime.
Hit me up, Dan!
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