Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: Graphic violence, drug use & offensive language
Daniel Radcliffe as Miles Lee Harris
Samara Weaving as Nix Degraves
Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Nova
Ned Dennehy as Riktor
Grant Bowler as Degraves
Edwin Wright as Stanton
Rhys Darby as Glenjamin
Director: Jason Lei Howden
Miles (Daniel Radcliffe) is a video game developer who inadvertently becomes the next participant in a real-life death match that streams online. While Miles soon excels at running away from everything, that won’t help him outlast Nix (Samara Weaving), a killer at the top of her game.
I and many people on the internet became interested in Guns Akimbo from the moment pictures behind the set of Daniel Radcliffe holding two guns while wearing a bathroom became viral. Also, I liked Daniel Radcliffe and Samara Weaving, so I was even more interested. Guns Akimbo looked to be a very over the top action comedy, so I was just going into the movie expecting that. I will say it doesn’t quite reach its fullest potential as I hoped, but I still enjoyed it.
With this premise, of course it was going to be an over the top movie, and Guns Akimbo certainly is that and it aware of it. From the first two scenes, it really does feel kind of edgy. I have seen some movies that try to be edgy and they can really get on my nerves (something like Assassination Nation) and I completely understand if that tone really turns people off. I wasn’t a fan of it, but I tolerated it enough. Most of the movie is just Daniel Radcliffe running with guns stuck to his hands and the comedy is that he doesn’t really want to kill people for much of the movie. It does get old at a point and a little repetitive. Some of the logic by Daniel Radcliffe’s character is also a bit annoying, there are some specifically where he tries to cover up his situation of having guns fully bolted to his hands, and it just doesn’t make sense. There’s particularly a whole scene with him and his ex-girlfriend which he could’ve handled so much better. The comedy is very hit or miss, it tries hard at it though. It’s not so bad that it’s constantly cringy but a lot of the jokes don’t land. Speaking of cringe though, the writing is really not that good and is quite eye rolling at many points. The movie also does try to be something like a sort of satire and commentary about online trolls, social media and the internet today (ironic considering a certain controversy involving this movie’s director). However that aspect is just hard to take seriously, which is ironic considering that this movie is very clearly a comedy. It wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t constantly throw that in the audience’s face for much of the movie and mishandle it. Finally, for as crazy as they wanted to make the movie, the storyline itself is quite predictable and unimpressive. Side note, but this movie also tries to set up a sequel that will never happen.
The main cast do well in their parts. Daniel Radcliffe was kind of the perfect fit for this lead role and movie, as a mild mannered geek who doesn’t want to kill people but is stuck with guns in his hands. He’s particularly great with the comedy, and he even works with the action towards the end of the movie. I for one am down for the Daniel Radcliffe taking on crazy and weird projects post Harry Potter. However it is Samara Weaving who takes the movie to another level, as the killer hunting Daniel Radcliffe down. She’s energetic, owns all of her scenes and is a clear standout despite some of the iffy writing. I just wish she was in the movie more as like a co-lead. Both Radcliffe and Weaving share great chemistry too.
I’m not sure if I’d say I liked the direction or not, I just know that it certainly tries very hard. It is very over the top and stylised, and sometimes the style can really fail. Within the first 20 to 30 minutes you can figure out whether it is for you or not. The camera spins and rotates and moves around at times, it’s like a less hyperactive version of the Crank movies. The action itself can be quite fun at many points, especially towards the end. With that said, at times a lot of the action can be flat out ruined by some of the editing, and the action isn’t exactly particularly standout or anything.
Guns Akimbo is not for everyone and really doesn’t succeed as well as you’d hope it would, both with the messy script and the flawed direction. However I still like the movie, it’s got some fun moments, and ultimately both Daniel Radcliffe and Samara Weaving carry it. If it looks appealing to you from the trailer, check it out for yourself. Again, you’ll figure out very early on whether it’s for you or not.