8 Aug 2021
Jason Lei Howden
Jason Lei Howden
Daniel Radcliffe, Samara Weaving, Ned Dennehy
It was great to see Daniel Radcliffe throw on an American accent and spend an hour-and-a-half with guns nailed to his hands, trying to avoid the psychotic violence of Samara Weaving's killer assassin.
The setup? A twisted organisation called Skizm who enlist fighters (willing and unwilling) from all walks of life to fight to the death for the viewing pleasure of millions around the world. With video-game style brutality and an energetic aesthetic, Guns Akimbo is a stylish and sickly engrossing action/comedy.
Written and directed by filmmaker Jason Lei Howden (his previous feature 2015’s Deathgasm), Radcliffe plays Miles - a mild-mannered nerd whose only solace from life’s crotch-kicking is winding up trolls in comments sections. When he chooses to engage the users of Skizm, however, it’s not long before his door is smashed down and he is thrust into the city-wide battle arena with semi-automatic weapons nailed to his hands. Weaving plays Nix, a career-hardened player of Skizm who just needs one more kill (Miles) before being released from her duties.
Ned Dennehy is in scenery-chewing good form as Riktor, the head of Skizm and a completely unbalanced personality. His entourage of crazily named goons makes for a fun and spectacle-filled series of high-octane action and explosive violence which utterly savours the gratuitous brutality of it all. With enough blood-splattering and slow-motion bullet tearing to merit an 18-certificate, Guns Akimbo is bowling a lot of fun with the sides down. It’s messy and cartoonish but an exhilarating jaunt that never once stops to check what’s next, preferring to plow ahead with the next piece of unrestricted savagery.
In the line-up of post-Potter performances, this is up there for Radcliffe. Showcasing the actor’s comedy and action ranges, whilst allowing him the space and freedom to take pot-shots at the public who have “owned” him for so many years. It is Weaving, however, who punches her way through the screen with raw-knuckled aplomb. With an armory of destructive weaponry and super killing skills, she makes a formidable onscreen threat that is incredibly fun to watch.