2 Guns (2013)

There’s an intriguing mash-up of gritty drug drama and shoot-em up buddy cop comedy here, but a slightly convoluted narrative and constant movement between the genres hinders either aspect from gaining enough steam to have a lasting impact–and middling supporting turns for Wahlberg and Washington’s steady leads don’t help. There’s some good moments here (usually more comedic than dramatic) and the double secret identity premise is fun, but the film lacks a solid and steady screenplay.

Philadelphia (1993)

When a man with AIDS is fired by his law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit. (IMDb)
Great elements here are held back by little snags: Beautiful editing (see the Springsteen- and Young-backed bookending montages) and unique shots by long scenes that drag a tad; compelling courtroom drama by its abrupt conclusion that doesn’t follow its build-up; the intriguing central relationship by Miller’s unclear character development. That said, the film’s bold approach to its subject matter–led by Hanks’ and Washington’s stellar turns–puts the focus on its pros instead of cons.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

American Gangster (2007)

In 1970s America, a detective works to bring down the drug empire of Frank Lucas, a heroin kingpin from Manhattan, who is smuggling the drug into the country from the Far East. (IMDb)
Starts off feeling a little messy and uninspired as it introduces the main players, but it quickly evolves into a wonderfully gritty and captivating crime drama with top notch cinematography and a richly textured plot. Washington is great as the charismatic and violent Lucas, and Crowe is as equally competent as the determined Richie, and along with a strong supporting cast, they enact an intriguing cops vs. gangsters script that shows the interesting overlaps of their respective moral spectra.
8/10 (Great)

The Pelican Brief (1993)

A law student uncovers a conspiracy, putting herself and others in danger. (IMDb)
This is a well-filmed legal thriller with a solid pair of protagonists (Washington and Roberts are in good form) and a decent amount of suspense and intrigue, but ultimately the dense political/legal talk that saturates the story makes it much too difficult to follow for it to be an enjoyable watch all the way through–and the drawn-out ending does little to redeem it.
6.5/10 (Alright)