Guns Akimbo REVIEW
Written & Directed: Jason Lei Howden
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Samara Weaving, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Ned Dennehy, Rhys Darby
Censor rating: R16
Auckland is the setting for the latest high-speed, comic book-style caper. PAUL ROSE assesses this madcap action flick and pronounces it a winner.
Guns Akimbo is an action-comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe and Samara Weaving. It was written and directed by Kiwi, Jason Lei Howden (Deathgasm) and filmed almost entirely on location in Auckland.
Miles Lee Harris (Radcliffe) is a game developer and coder, a nerd who is glued to one device or another 24/7. His job is boring, his boss is a bully and when he’s not working, Miles, alone in his apartment, downs cans of beer and trolls online trolls. One night he finds himself swapping insults with Riktor (Ned Dennehy), the tattooed skulled boss of Skizm, an online fight club where criminals and psychos are selected to battle each other to death. These bouts are streamed online and followed by millions of viewers around the world, as drones and CCTV cameras capture the action. Angered by Miles’ insults, Riktor and his henchmen break into his apartment and render him unconscious.
When he wakes the next day Miles has a revolver bolted to both of his hands. He is now part of the game. His girlfriend, Nova (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) takes one look at the guns attached to his hands and does a runner.
Miles is pitted against Nix (Samara Weaving), the current Skizm champion who breaks into his apartment, guns blazing. Instead of engaging in battle, Miles escapes and goes on the run, leading Nix through the streets, alleys and warehouses of Shrapnel City (Auckland). He’s very skilled at keeping Nix guessing his whereabouts. The millions of online viewers are baying for blood and are hungry for a fight, leading Skizm to kidnap Nova and threaten her life unless Miles plays the game and engages in battle with Nix. Car chases, shoot ups and explosions ensue.
Guns Akimbo has been on the receiving end of some very bad reviews. This isn’t one of them. Yes, there are plot holes big enough to drive an articulated truck through, but that’s okay as Guns Akimbo doesn’t have any great message for mankind. Sure, it makes some observations about millennials and humans’ dependency on devices and social media, but its main purpose is to entertain, and that it does.
I never watched any of the Harry Potter films, so unlike most I didn’t watch Daniel Radcliffe grow up. I’ve only seen him as an adult actor and in Guns Akimbo he plays Miles brilliantly, with just the right amount of tongue in cheek humour and slacker mindset.
I did watch Samara Weaving grow up on the screen in the Australian soap, Home And Away, where she played Indi Walker for four years and later starred in the Picnic At Hanging Rock reboot where she played one of the three girls who disappear. She was good in both, but in Guns Akimbo she is brilliant. She plays the gun-toting, drug-sniffing, slightly unhinged Nix with gleeful relish.
There’s a lot of violence in this film, but it’s comic book, gamer style violence. Ned Dennehy’s Riktor is delightfully evil and demented. And keep an eye out for a couple of genius appearances by Rhys Darby.
Guns Akimbo will appeal to gamers and lovers of superhero comics. Aucklanders will enjoy trying to figure out which suburbs, streets or landmarks are featured. Much of it was filmed in the inner city in 2018 before the CBD became overrun with orange cones.
If you’re looking for some action-packed, high-speed fun, Guns Akimbo is the movie for you. Just remember to leave your brain at home. Recommended
- Guns Akimbo opens Thursday, March 5 in NZ cinemas.