In what could have been a super-meta occurrence in Jason Lei Howden’s “Guns Akimbo,” the director of a live-stream kill-game is put down for interfering too much. He is shot by a trolling, franchise-building bad guy for trying to stop the game’s aesthetic appeal. If Howden could have placed himself in a cameo, this specific occurrence could have had some meaning. As everything that happens thereafter could have had some kind of fucked-up meaning too.
The film opens with a bug giving out crass, pessimistic reality-check to the audience. “You just want to see violence” the voiceover claims. Some frantic-editing techniques clue us into a few people who are too indulged in a live-stream that claims to kill an opponent at any cost. At this very moment, Howden also clues us in to the B-movie aesthetics his film would enjoy thereafter. He basis his film in a video-game-esque reality where running away from the cops is commented as a ‘pussy-move.’
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Miles (Daniel Radcliffe) is a code-monkey who hates his job. His boss is a dick and the workplace resembles a bad online group of uneducated bullies. Miles is a keyboard warrior himself. When he is tired of his day job, he drinks and fights random trolls over the internet. In one of his quests, he ends up on the chatbox of the live-stream death-wish game ‘SKIZM.’ A quick IP-trace lands him up in trouble. The follow up finds him waking up to guns being bolted into his hands. His mission is to kill Nix (Samara Weaving) – A psychotic gamer who is the hot-stuff of the game thus far.
From the outset “Guns Akimbo” seems to know what world it wants to exist in. The hyper-stylized editing gives it a sense of urgency that caterers to the gamer-culture. However, the film – which kicks off as a satire on online bullying never seems to get it paddles back into coherence. It almost feels like a close-cut mishmash of glorious ideas puts into a blender of gore, senseless fun and B-movie madness. While there’s nothing wrong in being exactly that – the film exhausts the possibilities of making a mark pretty soon.
The plot evaporates into thin air when firing starts and the only thing left to admire is Samara Weaving’s badass attitude and some interesting camera movements. Radcliffe doesn’t get much to do – except shying away from possibilities of violence and then suddenly having an awakening. The plot progression is pretty amateurish – in spite of the tone the film sets out to achieve. The villans are pretty dead-beat too. There’s also a false twist plodded into the tale which overcompensates over the trauma of a key character – leaving their motifs to feel dull and diluted.
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“Deathgasm“- the director’s previous film was a horror-comedy that knew it’s limitations. It also chose to revel in gore-fest over its insanity – feeling half-assed in similar ways that “Guns Akimbo” does. Ultimately, the film faces that same fate that Deathgasm did – i.e being too smug a little too soon. Also, it climaxes more times than it is supposed to, leaving you with a controller that has a few buttons permanently dismembered.
Guns Akimbo Trailer
Guns Akimbo Links – IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes