“Guns Akimbo” isn’t for the widest swath of viewers, though gamers may find this gonzo action-comedy-fantasy a mindless diversion. Whether that’s a good thing, however, is debatable: The film’s relentless mayhem and carnage — cartoonish as it may be — is brutal and disturbing. Not to be a buzzkill, but it’s worth mentioning. (As is the fact that writer-director Jason Lei Howden is currently embroiled in a cyber-bullying scandal that alleges he has been targeting film critics of color.)
Daniel Radcliffe, in one of his most extreme attempts to wipe out his bookish “Harry Potter” image, plays Miles, a beleaguered coder caught up in the world of Skizm, an underground fight club that’s streamed live to a hyper-involved audience.
Before Miles knows what’s hit him — literally — he finds a set of weighty pistols drilled into his hands and is forced to battle the outrageous Nix (Samara Weaving), Skizm’s super-surly, all-guns-blazing star player. The site’s maniacal, mega-tattooed creator, Riktor (Ned Dennehy), and his ruthless henchpeople propel Miles’ death-defying journey across fictional Shrapnel City (shot in Auckland, New Zealand, and Munich), which also involves him saving his kidnapped ex-girlfriend (Natasha Liu Bordizzo).
Howden, with an able assist from editors Luke Haigh and Zaz Montana, keeps this anarchic gore fest moving at breakneck speed, but it’s a brash, crass, often mind-numbing ride.
Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes
Playing: ArcLight Hollywood; ArcLight Sherman Oaks; ArcLight Culver City; also on VOD