The latest shoot-em-up movie stars Daniel Radcliffe, and yes, you heard that right. He’s easily the best part of the film. I got so much enjoyment out of watching Daniel Radcliffe run around in a bathrobe with guns bolted to his hands. Radcliffe has done really interesting work since completing the Harry Potter franchise. I really respect him being game for pretty much anything.
Guns Akimbo focuses on Miles (Radcliffe), a computer programmer, who makes a poor decision and trolls an underground fight club organization’s stream. The organization, Skizm, doesn’t enjoy the trolling too much and wants to to make Miles pay. They end up bolting firearms to his hands and forcing him to fight in their next competition, against the baddest killer: Nix (Samara Weaving).
I so badly wanted to like this movie more than I did. The concept is comical and cool. I’m a sucker for great posters with nice color schemes and Guns Akimbo has one of those. Initially, it checked all of the boxes, but in the end it didn’t deliver for me.
If you take away the initial set-up of having a character get guns bolted to his hands and having to participate in a fight to the death, the rest of the screenplay is pretty generic. It doesn’t bring anything new besides its tagline. While watching Guns Akimbo, you may find yourself thinking of other movies it reminds you of. I made a shortlist of ones I could think of right off the bay. Those movies are: the John Wick franchise, Gamer, Nerve, Crank, Hardcore Henry, Ready Player One, and The Running Man.
Usually when a film combines this many different films it will create a more interesting movie because it has so much to pick and choose from. However, Guns Akimbo feels pretty derivative. One could see Guns Akimbo as an algorithmic movie created from other daring action movies that have come out over the last two decades. I say that because there seems to be no passion or strong voice behind it shining through. The film has a lot of fun in the beginning, with its sleek editing and really interesting compositions, but it takes a step back and doesn’t take any risks. Guns Akimbo then came off as lazy, borrowing shots and successful artistic choices from other films. To top it off, the villain, Riktor (Ned Dennehy) is cartoonishly goofy. Ned Dennehy gives a 80s-esque performance in a movie with a modern feel.
Daniel Radcliffe does everything he can to save the movie and he’s supported greatly by Samara Weaving, who has made a habit herself of making the movies she’s in much better than they’d be without her. Nevertheless, uninspired direction and a common action screenplay prevent this from breaking through the mold of the action genre.