Guns Akimbo (2020) Review

Imagine waking up early in the morning with two handguns nailed to both hands and forced to fight for own survival. Or more appropriately, against a trigger-happy opponent in the form of Nix played by Samara Weaving.

That’s the setup behind Guns Akimbo, a hyperactive action comedy in the vein of Crank (2006) meets The Tournament (2009) set in the alternate world, where a live-streaming action game called Skizm allows online users to witness two participants battling to the death. Enter Miles (Daniel Radcliffe), the aforementioned person who has to go through the ordeal even if he has no intention to participate whatsoever. It all happens because of him mocking the makers of Skrim (led by Ned Dennehy’s Riktor) the night before with his series of online trolling comments.

And that was it. The movie is basically about Miles trying to stay alive until the end with a gonzo video game-like setup designed to satisfy genre fans. Particularly the one who loves their movies all gleefully fun and violent.

While it does work in a certain capacity, Guns Akimbo feels more like a missed opportunity. It may have been pacey and some of the acrobatic cameraworks are technically impressive but Jason Lei Howden’s script — who also directed the movie — is so hollow that it’s hard to care much about everything been going on here. Even the movie’s otherwise compact 95-minute length feels like it’s going to be a potentially wild and entertaining cinematic ride but overstaying its welcome long before it reaches the finish line.

Guns Akimbo has plenty of action — all of which are cranked up to eleven as if it wants to mimic the jittery effect of downing a dozen cans of cola at one go. Which explains why most of them look visually chaotic and at times, indecipherable.

Acting-wise, Daniel Radcliffe and Samara Weaving deliver both fun and playful performances but Ned Dennehy’s major antagonist role as Riktor is disappointingly underwhelming.