Mark Wahlberg teams up again with his Icelandic ‘Contraband’ (10) director Baltasar Kormákur, starring opposite Denzel Washington in a film adaptation of Steven Grant’s comic book series, that also hails back to Hollywood’s perhaps excessive history of crime/cop ‘buddy’ films. Here, Wahlberg’s Stig is the undercover Naval intelligence officer foil to Washington’s Bobby, an undercover DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agent, and only after they rob a bank together at the beginning does each begin to realise who the other really is, but by this point one particularly interested and rather pissed off bank customer (Bill Paxton) would really like his money back.
Some of the editing is a little ropey, and likewise some of the action explodes perfunctorily, but it is reasonably good fun, largely thanks to the charisma of the two leading men and their obvious ease with, and enjoyment of, each others company. James Marsden, Edward James Olmos and Paula Patton (‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ 2011) appear in support, and the whole is a decent if perhaps unmemorable addition to the back catalogue of like examples, except for one scene that stands out featuring a bunch of Mexicans shooting at some chickens they’ve buried in the sand so that only their heads are sticking up. Stig’s dialogue briefly becomes the voice of the audience in outrage, and it’s not especially pleasant to watch. Poor things. Not sure if psychologically damaged chickens would, ahem, fall foul of the standard “No Animals Were Harmed” in the making of this motion picture, a phrase that American films using animals have run at the end of the credits (courtesy of American Humane Association legislation).