Daniel Radcliffe (“Escape From Pretoria“, “Beast Of Burden“) changes tack once more, it’s a long time since his days in the Potter Universe and he continues to do all he can to get away from that and, with Guns Akimbo, you could argue it’s his largest move yet.
This is Radcliffe as we haven’t seen him before, well, maybe bits of him. It’s a gore-filled action flick written and directed by Jason Lei Howden (“Deathgasm”, “Veil (Short)”) who, despite at times favouring camera movement over letting you see the action, gives you a non-stop thrill ride that’s more like a computer game than a movie.
Radcliffe is Miles, a programmer at an app company by day, a keyboard warrior by night. He regularly ventures onto the Skizm website and trolls the comments section, safe from behind his laptop.
Skizm is the latest underground, viral, death game in which people are pitched to fight each other to the death. The police, some of whom are on the Skizm payroll, struggle to track the people behind the site down.
The current Skizm champion is a woman named Nix, Samara Weaving (“The Babysitter”, “Ready Or Not”), who has issues after seeing her family die in a car bomb.
Anyway, one night whilst Miles is drunk and trolling people on Skizm, the admin popup and tell him to f*ck off, he doesn’t, taunting them further, so they show his IP address, even though he’s trying to hide out.
A little while later, there’s a knock at the door and some thugs turn up and knock him out. He wakes, briefly, on an operating table, but when he fully comes round he is in his bedroom, in his pants, with a gun bolted to either hand. He is the newest fighter in Skizm’s game.
He’s told that he must kill Nix to be set free. If he attempts to leave town, he’ll be killed, if he attempts to go to the authorities, he’ll be killed, in short, he doesn’t have an awful lot of choice.
As Nix runs round trying to kill him, Miles, a vegetarian pacifist, does his best not to die, he realises he doesn’t have much choice but to get with the program and find a way out.
Guns Akimbo is breathless stuff, it features some moments of light relief when Miles is trying to get dressed for instance, or have a piss, I mean, he’s got guns strapped to his hands so things are a touch awkward.
Miles also stumbles across a homeless man in Rhys Darby (“Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle”, “Hunt For The Wilderpeople”), who offers sage advice and randomly pops up every know and again through the film.
Guns Akimbo has a fun premise and both Radcliffe and Weaving perform well. A bit too often Howden can go for style rather than keeping things simple and the inevitable “bad guy fight” at the end is over the top even given what’s gone before.
However, switch your brain off, see it a theatre with good surround sound and don’t think too hard about the plot and there’s plenty to enjoy in Guns Akimbo.