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'Guns Akimbo' is Stone Dead

Janeen Mathisen

Posted on August 15, 2020 20:35

2 users

This attempt at a discussion through filmmaking isn't just dead on arrival — it never arrived in the first place.

Amazon Prime's Guns Akimbo is unfathomably inept. Sometimes the unreality of a movie can be exciting, such as the death-defying feats of the Mission Impossible films. This film, unfortunately, crashes and burns as its illogical identity is stretched past breaking point. Crass visuals, a terrible script, gaping plot holes, zero character development or even satisfactory character definition, an inaccurate and disrespectful portrayal of video games, and poor world-building and setting are the sorry pillars attempting to justify this film's existence. And they fail miserably.

A supposed computer nerd named Miles gets unwittingly dragged into an illegal one-on-one death match that is, somehow, incredibly popular and watched by thousands online. With guns bolted to his hands — admittedly a neat concept and ripe for comedy, which unfortunately the film does a scant job of utilizing — he must survive being killed by his criminally insane opponent. And rescue his girlfriend, if he can. 

On paper, this sounds like an intriguing premise; the trailer makes you think that as well. Unfortunately, the movie fails to deliver in every single aspect, and one of the most egregious failures is Miles' character: he doesn't have one.

A single instance at the beginning and an even shorter one at the end showcases Miles taking it upon himself to defend human decency and privacy. So, he's supposed to be honorable. That's an interesting personality considering the setting; it'd provide intriguing contrast if he'd tried to get through a death battle without killing anyone, especially considering the state of his hands — except the filmmakers don't have this happen. There is no believable or understandable transition between his pacifism at the beginning and his shoot-em-up rage during the third act. His supposed honor is so nonexistent that he utterly fails to be a character — he is a walking, talking, shooting plot point.

To make matters worse, he is portrayed by none other than Daniel Radcliffe, who is undoubtedly an excellent actor, and even pulls off a flawless American accent. Seeing him constantly flustered as he makes his way through absurd circumstances is the only thing worth watching, but the personality of the man he is supposed to be portraying is so nonexistent that it almost cancels the other factor out entirely.

This movie requires Herculean leaps in logic that it wants the audience to take, but the writing, world-building, and character development are so poor it becomes impossible to do so. Guns Akimbo tries to make a statement about desensitization, violence, and the media — by itself, a good message to try and handle. But the film ruins its attempted discussion at every single opportunity, and from every possible angle, too many to mention here. Simply put, don't waste your time with Guns Akimbo. It isn't worth the smoke from its own guns.

Janeen Mathisen

Posted on August 15, 2020 20:35

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