Movie Review: Guns Akimbo (2019)

Directed by Jason Lei Howden, Guns Akimbo is a 2019 action/black comedy film. Pathetic computer programmer Miles (Daniel Radcliffe) spends his nights trolling online forums, but soon finds himself targeted by infamous, and deadly underground fight club, Skizm and their leader Riktor (Ned Dennehy). Forced to fight for his life against Skism’s reigning champion, Nix (Samara Weaving), Miles must battle across the city with a pair of handguns bolted through his hands.

+ both Radcliffe and Weaving are great, and the chemistry they have as they play of each other is a joy to watch. Miles (Radcliffe) is relateable at his best, and someone we all know to hate at his worst, but this really is Weaving’s movie; her Nix is insane and violent and provides the majority of the films’ more explosive moments
+ tonally, the film is best described as Scott Pilgrim (video game references, pathetic underdog protagonist) by way of Hardcore Henry (intense action, lots of Steadicam use), and frankly that works. The juxtaposition of the video game style character introductions and on-screen kill-count action movie violence creates a frantic pace
+ supporting cast, Riktor (Dennehy), Miles’ ex-girlfriend Nova (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), investigating police officer Degraves (Grant Bowler) and homeless man Glenjamin (Rhys Darby, What We Do in the Shadows) are all fine, with a few fun moments each. Darby is the clear standout as Glenjamin, and his several funny lines from the trailers are just the beginning of his scene stealing showing

– some of the ‘gamer culture’ stuff is super cringey, such as Miles uttering ‘Everything looks so HD’ as he finds himself looking at the real world, not his phone. Similarly, Sonic the Hedgehog style rings flying out of Miles as he is bumped into on the street is about as basic a reference you can get. Miles’ apartment being so full of action figures and gaming collectables is treated as a joke, but like-minded collectors also seem to be the film’s target audience? This middling approach is lacking, and I’d have preferred either they went all out in celebration or not bothered at all

Should you see this film: This was fine, and I enjoyed the premise, but the film never really seemed to go anywhere. Miles’ hand cannons were the only thing separating this from any other action movie, and the black comedy coming from him trying to do something as basic as dial a modern smart phone run thin after the first viewing. Fans of video games or action movies may get a kick, but it’s not a movie you should go out of your way to see.

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