- The foremost element working in this feature’s favor: Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as Bobby and Stig, riffing with each other with a seemingly improvisational ease. Neither man really plays a character, per se, but both play off of the other so well that it barely matters. They feel something like Riggs and Murtaugh.
- Bill Paxton as the intimidating CIA Agent desperately trying to retrieve the government’s money is good as well.
- That’s about where the good ends and the ‘oy’ begins. James Marsden as Commander Quince and Paula Patton as Deb are wooden. Patton is done no service by a script which demands she bat her pretty eyelids, transparently conspire against Bobby (Washington), her former and sometimes current love interest, and undress to walk around in nothing covering her ample breasts, except . . . well . . . her hair.
- Marsden isn’t helped much either, though the script doesn’t hurt him as much as it hurts Patton. He too is transparently a bad guy from the first moment in which we see him, but at least we aren’t supposed to believe he’s really Stig’s friend/confidante.
- I’m about to say something I expected never to say. Edward James Olmos (Pappy) is bad. Just bad. He never feels like a mob boss. He feels like a dignified undercover agent. I know Olmos can play a villain (his turn as a serial killer in Dexter establishes that), but he doesn’t play it well here.
- The plot twists are predictable and thereby barely twists. Only the first one, the one in which the CIA is using the bank to smuggle drug money, comes as any real surprise. But that one is underdeveloped. Instead of exploring the CIA’s complicity with the cartels, the film more or less glosses over it, leading me to ask: why include it at all?
- Final Grade: D-