Daniel Radcliffe has gone from Harry Potter to roles in films that have been daring and definitely against type. Playing an FBI agent undercover as a Nazi skinhead in Imperium in 2016 was probably his most difficult role to see him in. It was a great performance in an outstanding film. He has purposely picked roles that are audacious and bold trying to shed the clean cut image of the childhood character he will forever be known for. For the most part, it has worked. Guns Akimbo, however is a project he should have steered clear of.
I can hear the pitch meeting, now, from writer and director Jason Lei Howden. “Okay, we have a film about a guy who wakes up with guns bolted to both hands and he must fight to save his kidnapped girlfriend! We have Harry Potter to play the lead!” I can hear the studio’s response, “SOLD!” As promising as this may or may not seem, Guns Akimbo is a hodgepodge of films like Crank and Gamer (a disaster of a film similarly plotted with Gerard Butler from 2009). Both films ultimately better than anything Guns Akimbo can come up with.
Thrown into the mix is Samara Weaving, hot off the success of the B-titled film Ready or Not, playing Nix, the current champion of Skizm. Skizm is an online game in which people battle to the death and Nix is the girl to beat. Miles (Radcliffe) has an online argument with the head of Skizm, Riktor, a tattooed loser who has as much charisma as a bath towel. I never believed he could lead anything except maybe a booze run to the tattoo parlor. Riktor’s ploy is to pit Miles and Nix together and kill them both, ultimately. Who wants to put money down that Miles and Nix decide to work together to defeat Riktor?
Guns Akimbo is a complete waste of time. It is an obnoxious, crass, overbearingly stupid film with a whole lot of sound and fury meaning nothing. Radcliffe and Weaving try their best to keep this material afloat but it is a sinking ship almost from the first scene. The script is moronic and does not make a bit of sense. I mean, when Miles wakes up with guns bolted to both hands, doesn’t he think maybe he should go to a friend with impact wrench? Then there is the added cliche of Nix’s family that all died in a fiery car crash, except her, of course, which happens to be her one weakness. She is afraid of fire. Who isn’t?
Guns Akimbo seems to be targeted to the gamers and online nerds but in the same breath it has nothing but contempt for them, too. This is insulting film implying that most people who are gamers and online junkies are bad people, by and large, that enjoy watching the suffering of others to justify their own existence. What utter crap. Sure, their are exceptions to everything, but most people cringe at the suffering of others and don’t revel in it. I guess when you have the writer and director of the “classic” film Deathgasm, what would you expect? Yes, that is an actual film from the same writer and director as Guns Akimbo.
Guns Akimbo has one bright spot. The film score by Ennis Rotthoff is a bouncy and exciting score which is the only thing that kept me going through this dreck. Writer and director Jason Lei Howden, who has spent most of his time in the visual effects departments, has created a truly wretched film. Needlessly violent, vulgar, offensive trash that has been relegated to the dollar bin. It does not give me pleasure to say this, either. This is ninety-five minutes and six bucks I will never get back. Mr. Howden, I am sure poured his heart and soul into Guns Akimbo, with horrendous results. My advice is buy the score from Amazon and skip the film.
Guns Akimbo – * out of 5
Guns Akimbo – Rated R for endless violence, gore and language
Guns Akimbo – Run time is 95 minutes
If you still insist on seeing this film it is available On Demand and subscription services.