If that concept doesn’t have you on board, Guns Akimbo is not for you. Who exactly Guns Akimbo is for is up for debate.
Feeling straight from a pile of rejected Black Mirror scripts, Guns Akimbo stars Daniel Radcliffe as Miles, a mild-mannered nerdy computer programmer who channels his daily frustration with obnoxious and belligerent coworkers into trolling online trolls by night. When he gets into a flame war with the degenerates of Skizm, an illegal online death match viewing platform, Miles finds himself with the goon squad at his door who waste no time in bolting guns to his hands and pitting him against the site’s top competitor, the drugged-out murderess Nix (Margot Robbie lookalike Samara Weaving).
Radcliffe himself described the movie as “a Jason Statham movie directed by Edgar Wright,” but he’s being a little too generous and maybe a little too insulting to the man who brought us Scott Pilgrim. Instead, what Guns Akimbo offers is video game-stylized violence mixed with adolescent slapstick humour and a lazy commentary on online addiction.
There’s not much more to the shoot ‘em up plot, but then again, it doesn’t really matter.
The film’s main selling point is Radcliffe leaning in to the lighter moments, playing the hapless Miles’ confusion and nerdiness to the extreme. The Former Boy Who Lived has already proven he can play the average underdog with movies like The F Word and Horns. Here, he spends a lot of the movie running around in a bathrobe, boxers and fuzzy slippers, pausing to use his asthma inhaler and attempting to avoid shooting himself in his nether regions. Perhaps best of all, Radcliffe looks like he’s having a blast.
Weaving’s Nix is little more than a tattooed, gun-toting video game avatar come to life with a backstory that only serves to try to unsuccessfully bring meaning to the paper thin plot. We all know Miles and Nix will team up eventually, but Guns Akimbo offers us no plausible connection for them to tag-team against the Skizm bad guys.
Director Jason Lei Howard (Deathgasm) packs his 95-minute movie with blood splatter and a soundtrack of cover songs, but no amount of video game action can make up for the poor pacing and tacked-on romantic subpot. With a little more fine-tuning and placement in TIFF’s Midnight Madness line-up, Guns Akimbo could have brought down the house.