Daniel Radcliffe wakes up with guns stuck to his hands and forced to fight like a gladiator in Guns Akimbo, an action comedy co-starring Samara Weaving (Ready or Not). While it doesn’t fully deliver on its potential, the whole thing has a juvenile, punk rock vibe that mostly works really well despite its flaws, writes Daniel Rutledge.
What a great idea—a modern take on The Running Man, set in a heightened world of streamer-obsessed shitposters and in the style of Crank: High Voltage. There’s an infectious, wild energy to Guns Akimbo and much of its gleefully crude humour hits its mark well. But a reliance on shitty computer-generated blood and editing that occasionally obscures the good stuff means it doesn’t fully deliver on its potential.
That’s not to say the action is all bad. A lot of it is just fine and some of it kicks arse, like a hammer fight near the end that’s wonderfully brutal and excessive. The staging and choreography are generally impressive and the hyperkinetic style can be a fun ride to get on. I just wish there was more of an emphasis on practical gore and more post-John Wick/The Raid fidelity in the action. It’s the ugly CGI splatter that really lets things down, though.
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Guns Akimbo is best when it’s scattershooting crass jokes about female masturbation, gratuitous dick shots or hype talking gun camo like it’s a new dress purchase from ASOS, with Samara Weaving’s Nix responsible for most of the best lines. Special mention must also go to the soundtrack, which features Rick James, Dead or Alive, Cypress Hill and a truly inspired use of Stan Bush.
I also love that this movie isn’t afraid to celebrate hard drug use in a wickedly over the top way that Hollywood is still normally weirdly shy about. The whole thing has this juvenile, punk rock vibe that mostly works really well—even if it is weirdly juxtaposed with some unnecessary serious comments about how violence actually is “in real life”. There appear to be a few confused attempts at statements and it’s not as clever as it thinks it is, nor does every joke land. But as silly, lurid bubblegum fun, Guns Akimbo delivers nicely and should deservedly develop a cult following, despite its flaws.