In 2015, visual effects wizard turned feature film writer/director rookie Jason Lei Howden gave us, nay, blessed us with the delectably original and hilarious 'Deathgasm' (bonus points for the title too). Winning the coveted opportunity to make his debut thanks to a poster design competition of all things, some serious talent was unveiled and I for one could not wait to see what he came up with next. But I did... and I waited for five years. And what he gave me was less than original and funny, but it had some great household names fronting his sophomoric efforts. Well, you win some, you lose some.
'Guns Akimbo' is about computer game coder by day, comments "troll" hunter by night Miles (Daniel Radcliffe, all of the damn 'Harry Potter' films. You may have heard of them.) who pisses off the wrong people online and then finds himself attacked, drugged and surgically "enhanced" with a pair of guns bolted to his hands. The people he wronged, one keystroke at a time, were the makers and operators of Skizm, a brutal fight-to-the-death contest live-streamed to the country and soon the world. And the people are hooked. Now, learning how to pee, dress and open doors with guns for hands is the least of Miles' problems with Nix (Samara Weaving, 'Ready or Not'), a criminally insane woman, out to kill him. And it's all in the name of viewership.
These barbaric, gladiatorial contest movies are anything but new. More than 30 years ago it was Arnold Schwarzenegger 'The Running Man', and more recently it was Emma Roberts and Dave Franco in 'Nerve'. So straight out of the gate I was disappointed - I knew Jason was capable of more originality than this. But I held on to hope that he could put a new, exciting spin on it all... Yeah, not so much. The guns thing, I'll give him that, but everything else was weak and brutally predictable. He even cast the beloved Rhys Darby in an almost identical role to that from 'Hunt For The Wilderpeople' but with the added character affectation of a crack addiction *tsk tsk*.
You're actually in for quite the visual feast - but then it gets let down but the cliché-ridden and wince-inducing screenplay...
Look, if you can get past the New Zealand filmmaker making a film with British and Australian actors sporting American accents then you're actually in for quite the visual feast. No frame of 'Guns Akimbo's' 95 minutes is wasted. Always full of colour, movement, action and violence or humour, there's a lot going on to hold your attention - but then it gets let down but the cliché-ridden and wince-inducing screenplay on top of the cacophony of muddled and horrendous fake American accents. Yikes.
There's definite cheap fun to be had here, just try not to go in with expectations too high. This was potential wasted, but at least we always have 'Deathgasm' to fall back on.