By Bradley Lane
When I had first come across the trailer for Guns Akimbo, I thought it could be a good time, one of those movies where a crazy concept gives way to over-the-top action with some laughs from a charismatic lead. Unfortunately, from its first moments I instantly realized whatever assumptions I had about the film were wildly inaccurate. The film opens up with a laughably unnecessary voice-over monologue about how everyone spends their lives with their faces buried in their smartphone; which becomes painfully ironic when I learned while researching this film that the director was embroiled in his own social media controversy. This makes perfect sense after having watched Guns Akimbo, a film with the emotional complexity of a middle schooler and the moral complexity of a children’s book.
The admittedly ridiculous concept of Guns Akimbo is that Miles, played by Daniel Radcliffe, gets guns bolted to his hands and a mercenary sent to kill him as punishment for his poor behavior online. This is done by the creators of the online show Skism, where criminals compete to the death in an online livestream. After becoming forced to fight for his survival, Miles becomes an online celebrity as he attempts to escape Skism altogether.
The only tolerable parts of the film are when it doesn’t try to pretend to be anything but dumb, stupid fun. The moments where Miles struggles to put on pants with guns for hands are chuckle-worthy for sure. But that’s about as far as the appeal stretches, because whenever any character is speaking the poorly written script rears its ugly head. It’s as though the screenwriter distilled the worst, most out-of-touch parts of Deadpool, Family Guy and every Michael Bay movie into one film that desperately wants you to think it is smarter than you are.
All of that is backed up by trashy visuals, made even worse with poorly made Edgar Wright-esque edits and visual effects. The final product feels more like someone saw Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, ignored the emotional development of Scott throughout the film and somehow only took away how cool the video game references were. It is completely vapid, and oftentimes, insultingly stupid.
My only lingering thought I have after having seen Guns Akimbo is how sad it is for the many talented directors that get turned away from the film industry when a movie like this can still be made. I hope I never have to think about Guns Akimbo for a very long time. – 1/5 stars