A film that tries to be a cult classic loses the plot of exactly what it is.
It is difficult to explain what exactly Guns Akimbo is as a film because the answer is many things.
Inspiration can be seen from such films as Gamer, Crank, Nerve, as well as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The downfall of Guns Akimbo is mixing so many different themes that work well individually but don’t mesh together into a coherent story.
Guns Akimbo is the latest film by Writer and Director Jason Lei Howden. Set in an alternative future where an underground crime organization called Skizm has achieved massive popularity by streaming deathmatches between the world’s most dangerous criminals.
Online troll hunter Miles, (Daniel Radcliffe) one day decides to go after the wrong troll at the wrong time. Members of Skizm attack Miles in his home and as revenge, bolts two guns into Miles’s hands and forces him to go after the game’s top killer, Nix (Samara Weaving). What occurs next is a wild adventure that mirrors your average Grand Theft Auto online session but isn’t quite as fun.
Howden’s film in the grand scheme of things is a mismosh of narratives that never fully commits to its own bit. On one hand, you can see the social commentary behind satirizing toxic internet culture by lampooning internet trolls and spotlighting American’s thirst for over the top violence.
However, the film is not as over the top as it needs to be to drive the message home. Guns Akimbo is very half-pregnant in many regards. The film tries to be a throwback action comedy that is filled with cheesy 80s pop remakes sprinkled throughout the story but it doesn’t dive far enough into its comedic bits or kick-ass action.
The paper-thin plot falls apart as you never believe in the protagonist’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend. Feeling nothing for the Damsel in distress, the film drags on with a short runtime due to the lack of worldbuilding. Understandably there is not a budget here to go crazy but when you establish an over the top futuristic world like this, you must show not tell.
Stylistically, there is some good cinematography to blend with the solid choreography in its action set pieces. Samara Weaving is by far the best character in the film even though Ned Dennehy’s campy performance as the ring leader Riktor deserves a mention as well.
For all good the film introduces, failure to execute on what it establishes kills it in the end. Guns Akimbo is a film that drops the ball of what could have been, leaving you unsatisfied by what it is.