In Guns Akimbo, Daniel Radcliffe plays a loser who wakes up with guns physically bolted to his hands (yes, really). Not only that, but his character is tasked with killing an assassin on a live-streamed internet show.
Points for originality must go to writer/director Jason Lei Howden for this deranged-looking movie. If happen to have spent the last few minutes considering if you should take a swig of Red Bull to get a jolt of energy, maybe just watch this new trailer instead – it’ll probably have the desired effect.
Guns Akimbo Trailer
Remember the 2007 Clive Owen movie Shoot ‘Em Up? I’m getting some similar vibes from this film, but maybe mixed with something like Nerve or The Running Man as well. This is the type of movie I would have been pumped about seeing when I was in my late teens or early twenties, but can’t bring myself to get excited about now, because I just don’t have the temperament for it anymore.
And it doesn’t help that the film’s early reviews haven’t exactly been glowing. /Film’s Jacob Hall once called Guns Akimbo “Scott Pilgrim for assholes.” During last year’s Fantastic Fest, he wrote that while he was ultimately disappointed in the movie, it will almost certainly find an audience:
Guns Akimbo plays one note and it plays it non-stop for 90 minutes, never finding a new tone, never exploring a new valley, and hammering that one note until your ears bleed. The result is ultimately less Edgar Wright and more like Crank and Gamer. If that one note – one that reeks of depravity and Axe body spray and message board comedy circa 2006 – appeals to you, you will probably have a blast with Guns Akimbo. There’s an audience for this movie and there’s no denying that the action is staged with flair and style. This movie is not a train wreck – it’s a coordinated assault on good taste and the senses and every choice is just that. A choice. This film clearly accomplishes what it set out to do.
In his TIFF review, /Film contributor Marshall Shaffer called out the movie for not going far enough with its thematic messaging:
Howden does pick up on some of the sly humor of someone like Verhoeven, yet he undercuts that same comedy by indulging in the very pleasures it tries to criticize and satirize. This lack of self-awareness weighs on Guns Akimbo, which wants to be so much more than just another installment of video game-style action brought to life. If there wasn’t a sense that Howden wanted his film to represent a higher class of action film, perhaps there wouldn’t be that feeling of hollowness left when the credits roll. We wait for that critique of how passive spectatorship enables violent, fascistic forms to arrive, and it just never does. There’s a light, diverting action film that might have been pure cinematic bliss had Howden better aligned his ambitions with what worked on screen.
Here’s the official description:
Nerdy video game developer (Daniel Radcliffe) is a little too fond of stirring things up on the internet with his caustic, prodding, and antagonizing comments. One night, he makes the mistake of drunkenly dropping an inflammatory barb on a broadcast of Skizm, an illegal death-match fight club streamed live to the public. In response, Riktor (Ned Dennehy), the maniacal mastermind behind the channel, decides to force Miles’ hand (or hands, as it were) and have him join the “fun.” Miles wakes to find heavy pistols bolted into his bones, and learns Nix (Samara Weaving), the trigger-happy star of Skizm, is his first opponent.
Gleefully echoing elements of Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the Purge franchise, and video games like Mortal Kombat, Guns Akimbo is hilariously dark, viciously violent, and potentially — chillingly — prescient. Director Jason Lei Howden (Deathgasm) foretells of a future that may soon await us: drone-captured live feeds, UFC-like competitions pushed to an extreme, and online streaming platforms used for gladiatorial entertainment all around the world. As Miles navigates the underworld of Skizm, the stakes — and the ratings — have never been higher.
Guns Akimbo hits theaters on March 5, 2020.
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