21 July 2024

Film Review – Guns Akimbo (2020)

In a Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (dir. Edgar Wright, 2010) meets Black Mirror (cr. Charlie Brooker, 2011-present) mashup, Guns Akimbo is a chaotic rendition of gamer culture. More specifically: trolling. Daniel Radcliffe stars in Jason Lei Howdens energetic dark comedy, dazzling viewers with screen spectacle from start to finish.

You’ve probably seen the photos leaked of Daniel Radcliffe in his underwear before. Guns for hands and without context on Twitter. Now it’s finally time to see what bizarre indie flick the Harry Potter star has made next, following in the same path as his other offbeat projects Swiss Army Man (dir. Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, 2016) and Horns (dir. Alexandre Aja, 2013).

Guns Akimbo follows Miles, a cyber troll flung into the world of real-life fighting to the death. Skizm is an underground criminal organisation, live streaming death-matches to a dystopian world. When Miles begins trolling their forum, the tattoo-covered, leather-wearing criminals track him down, bolting guns to his hands in a pit against the notorious killer Nix.

Guns Akimbo sets off to a good start, boldly impressing viewers with special effects and a whacky, original plot line. The concept is interesting to say the least, and Howden succeeds in creating a clear tone in his dark, futuristic world. The camera inhabits the same energy as the story, with sped-up tracking shots, tilts and video-game excerpts placing you right within the film. However, Guns Akimbo unfortunately lacks in substance what it tries to make up for with satire; the ride is fun, but by the mid-point, the story line becomes repetitive and the glamour somewhat mind-numbing.

Despite the lack of investment built with the characters, Daniel Radcliffe still deliverers a witty and spirited performance. The cast and crew clearly had a fun time experimenting with this film, which is sometimes just as good of a reason to make it. With an aesthetic and pace similar to Suicide Squad (dir. David Ayer, 2016) – even referencing the Joker – but with a bit more class, Guns Akimbo is an entertaining watch. It’s loss of substance may be an off put for some viewers, but if you’re looking for something edgy and fun, it’s worth giving a try.

Controversy was sparked surrounding the film’s director which weakened its reception. When a Tweet of Howden’s received backlash, Guns Akimbo considered pushing back the release date after rumours it would be boycotted. Nonetheless Guns Akimbo will be available on DVD and Blue-ray on April 28th, 2020, as well as HD Digital Download.

Action, Comedy | USA, 2019 | 18 | Digital, DVD, Blu-Ray | Dir. Jason Lei Howden | Daniel Radcliffe, Samara Weaving, Rhys Darby, Ned Dennehy

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