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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

‘Pacific Rim’ and ‘2 Guns’ bring action to cinema

Published: August 23, 2013
Section: Arts, Etc., Top Stories

Two action movies came out this summer that caught the interest of moviegoers across the nation: “Pacific Rim,” directed by Guillermo del Toro, and “2 Guns,” directed by Baltasar Kormakur. “Pacific Rim” grossed nearly $100 million at the box office, while “2 Guns” grossed approximately $60 million.

The strength of “Pacific Rim” was not in its storyline, which possessed some gaping logical holes, but in its special effects and filmography. It is set in a world where the Pacific Ocean holds a giant portal to other lands with the humans dealing with the emerging threat of the Kaiju— massive, Godzilla-like creatures—for years. To combat these powerful foes, they create the Jaegers, a force of automatons controlled by two partners. To control these enormous robots, the human fighters have to be linked telepathically, a process called drifting. In this state, they become one consciousness, able to react and fight together. Slowly, the Kaiju coming through the portal become more and more powerful, and the Jaegers start to take on frightening casualties. Humans choose to do the only thing that seems to make sense: build an enormous wall in the Pacific Ocean that is breached no less than thirty seconds after being built instead of doing the more beneficial thing, which is to upgrade the enormous robots that were proven to be Kaiju vanquishers.

As a result, the remaining Jaegers are quickly called back into action, but this time, it was to stop a much more powerful threat. While a team of two scientists work together haphazardly to find a way to destroy the portal, the Jaegers get sliced down.

Finally, with no other plans on how to solve the problem, they decide that the best thing to do would be to send a nuke somewhere and hope that it fixes things. Into the forefront of the movie comes yet another awkward character development, which appears to be a sort of faint cry saying, “Look, we still have a plotline!” In comes the love story between the best Kaiju-fighting human and the rookie, who was originally stopped from being a ruthless Kaiju killer by her adopted father, the Kaiju-killing boss. The two fall in love immediately after seeing each other, although the two actors have no chemistry whatsoever. In between moments of cinematic splendor, they have time for a quick awkward chat in which neither can confess to the feelings that clearly weren’t there.

The strength of the movie is in how it made the audience believe that they themselves could control the enormous Jaegers and fight the Kaiju monsters. The movie did an excellent job of making you feel like a kid again. Although “Pacific Rim” was not watchable for its plotlines, it had a fantastic science fiction world and cinematic effects. It allowed you to imagine that these creatures could exist, and more importantly, made you feel powerful enough to stop them.

“2 Guns,” starring Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington, is a western-style gun-blazing adventure that leads two secret agents, one from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the other from the Navy, to work together on a tenuous agreement. Their friendship is originally shattered by the revelation that both are double agents using the other as a fall guy. Wahlberg and Washington hold an easy camaraderie, interacting in short snippets of casual speech amid a hail of bullets. As they rob banks and create money laundering deals, the duo get chased by their own men who end up turning on them to conceal all leaks.

The strength of “2 Guns” is in the actors’ abilities. Wahlberg and Washington light up the screen with their wisecracks and smart attitude. Nothing fazes them, not even the explosion of a diner or the death of a girlfriend. The villains and the plotline don’t attract a lot of interest, but the actors save the movie, as Wahlberg hits on the ladies and Washington blows up expensive cars.

Summer is often filled with action movies, this year bringing us “Wolverine,” “Superman” and “World War Z.” But if you choose to watch any of them on DVD, your best bet is either giant automaton robots or the bromance between Wahlberg and Washington.

Editor Dana Trismen contributed to this article.