DIRECTOR: jason lei howden (deathgasm)
STARRING: daniel radcliffe, samara weaving, Natasha Liu Bordizzo and Ned Dennehy
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Miles is a video game developer who inadvertently becomes the next participant in a real-life death match that streams online.
When news came in 2018 that Daniel Harry Potter Radcliffe was filming a movie in Auckland New Zealand my little world of film nerds and the general public went a little nuts. Well now we can see what all the fuss was about and Guns Akimbo is a fun, action stacked, darkly hilarious film.
Miles is stuck in a dead-end job, still in love with his ex-girlfriend Nova. Unbeknownst to him, a gang called Skizm is running a deadly competition within his city in which complete strangers fight to the death for the entertainment of an online audience of millions. Miles soon finds himself caught up in the game and forced to fight in a battle to the death. Initially, Miles' lifetime of running from his problems pays off as he manages to elude his first opponent but when Nova is kidnapped, he must finally stop running and overcome his fears to fight for the girl he loves.
We’ve kinda seen this movie before (Clive Owen’s Shoot ‘Em Up and Jason Statham’s Death Race) but it’s Guns Akimbo’s unique take and characters that make this film such a fun ride. It also provides an undercurrent of critique of the online world and how disconnected we are from the consequences of our actions in that realm.
While it felt a little longer than it actually was, there are enough action sequences with all the blood, gore, shootings and stabbings that you could possibly want. The only thing that I wished is that we’d seen more of Miles and Nix together as their banter is hilarious. Also for a movie with such a small budget the attention to detail is phenomenal. If you didn’t know, you would have no idea this film was shot in New Zealand.
Radcliffe is superb as the loser Miles, bumbling and fumbling his way through the story, perfectly bringing the needed awkwardness and likeability to the role. But this is Samara Weaving’s film. In 2019 she really broke through in her wondrous performance in the brilliant Ready or Not (seriously check it out and thank me later). She is utterly bonkers in this film, never stepping over the line into absurdity but bringing a Phoenix’s Joker level of madness to the screen that you can’t take your eyes off. If, God forbid, anything ever happened to Margot Robbie Weaving would make a perfect Harley Quinn.
Even though we’ve seen similar films before, Guns Akimbo is an extremely entertaining, action stacked, darkly funny film.