Fantastic Fest Review: GUNS AKIMBO Feels Like It Escaped From The CRANK Cinematic Universe

It's Daniel Radcliffe with guns bolted to his hands. What more do you need to know?

It's a great setup: Daniel Radcliffe plays Miles, a put-upon tech geek slaving his life away at shitty video game company. Miles doesn't get much respect from his co-workers or boss and seems to have no friends, so he spends his days online talking shit to internet trolls. One day he finds himself watching Skizm, a wildly illegal, real-world battle royale wherein two violent killers are pitted against one another in a fight to the death. Their every move is followed by hacked closed-circuit video cameras, drones, and whatever other surveillance tech the exceptionally evil folks at Skizm can employ to track their show's stars, while bloodthirsty internet denizens watch them battle to the death at home. 

Miles hates Skizm and the dirtbags who watch it, and one night he finds himself talking shit to the folks watching the stream. Doesn't take long before an admin pops up, warning him to watch his mouth, but Miles - emboldened by beer and eager to lash out at someone, anyone - keeps going. It's not long after that that a team of criminals kick in his door, knock him the fuck out, bolt guns to his hands (you read that correctly) and force him to join their cruel game. His adversary? The legendary Nix (Samara Weaving), an undefeated badass who seems to have an unlimited supply of guns and bullets at her disposal. Now Miles is being hunted, and he'll have to use his wits - and overcome the inability to use his hands - in order to stay alive, and possibly even kill Nix. Their battle will rage all over an unidentified city, through neon-lit warehouses and dank alleyways and hi-tech enemy encampments and even right out in public.

Here's what I can tell you. I loved the absurdity of this premise (either you'll go along with "Daniel Radcliffe has guns bolted to his hands" or you won't). I loved the frenetic, intense energy Guns Akimbo overflows with. I loved Radcliffe's progressively-more-unhinged performance, and I loved Samara Weaving's ice-cold, shit-talking assassin character (she repeatedly calls Miles "fuckboi"). I loved the needle drops. I loved the ruthless violence. I loved the choreography of the gunfights, which break out at an alarming rate. I loved most of the jokes. With Guns Akimbo, director Jason Lei Howden (Deathgasm) has made a film that feels as though it escaped from the Crank cinematic universe. If you liked those movies, you will probably like this one. 

That said, Guns Akimbo will not be for everyone. It's gleefully R-rated in a frequently childish way (there's a running gag about Nix shooting bad guys in the dick), and it's definitely the sorta film that'll earn fans primarily because of its insane premise and the sheer amount of style and gimmickry Howden tosses onscreen (an onscreen counter pops up every time Miles fires a bullet, letting the audience know precisely how many shots he has left at any given time). If you have an aversion to "style over substance", or ongoing dick jokes, or mayhem for the sake of mayhem, I can't imagine this will be your cup of tea. But those of you who enjoy this sorta thing will be very entertained, and I can easily imagine this becoming a cult title built around living rooms full of heavily-inebriated friends. Watching Guns Akimbo feels like having someone toss a bucket of cocaine and bullets right into your stupid face, and I mean that in the best way possible.