Daniel Radcliffe, Samara Weaving, Natasha Lio Bordizzo, Ned Dennehy, Rhys Darby
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… not a smart film, but it’s a wryly amusing one that will likely please a late night audience of like-minded friends…
We’ve all been there. A heavy night on the turps, some ill-advised internet commentary, maybe your hands were writing cheques your arse just couldn’t cash. Next morning you wake up with a hangover that feels like a family of Shetland ponies have been having a ketamine party inside your bonce. And when you look down, you realise you’ve had guns bolted to your hands! Such is the goofy, agreeable premise of Guns Akimbo, the latest flick from New Zealand director, Jason Lei Howden of Deathgasm (2015) fame, and it’s about what you’d expect.
Guns Akimbo is the kind of cult film that’s almost too aware of its desire to find a loyal niche audience. Adopting the noisy, frenetic pace and iconography of video games and social media, it tells the tale of Miles (Daniel Radcliffe), a gormless nerd who works for an unscrupulous software company and is a social justice keyboard warrior in his spare time. Before much screen time passes, Miles must deal with the handguns on his, erm, hands and work out how to put on trousers or take a piss. The whole caper is part of an illegal reality snuff show called Skizm, and Miles must also battle the cocaine-sniffing uber psycho, Nix (Samara Weaving), who has been selected as his opponent. Naturally, there’s a little more to the story, with subplots involving Miles’ rainbow-haired ex, Nova (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) and evil mastermind, Riktor (Ned Dennehy), but Guns Akimbo is here for a good time, not a long time (95 minutes to be precise).
And in terms of a good time, Guns Akimbo mostly delivers. The action is fast-paced and frequent and while it never matches the kinetic precision of something like Kick-Ass or Kingsmen: The Secret Service, it does crackle with energetic sadism. Radcliffe continues to embrace weird shit and seems to want to distance himself from Harry Potter as much as possible, delivering an effective performance as Miles. Weaving is, once again, one of the best things about the film she’s in, really showcasing her homicidal character’s madness, but it’s Ned Dennehy who steals many a scene with his malevolent, over-the-top shenanigans proving a highlight.
Guns Akimbo is not a smart film, but it’s a wryly amusing one that will likely please a late night audience of like-minded friends who perhaps have drunk or smoked a little something beforehand. If the concept of “Harry Potter with gun hands” sounds at all appealing, you’re likely going to dig this flick.