HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Green Knight, The
Beasts of No Nation
One of Our Aircraft is Missing
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Way of the Gun, The Bite the Bullet
Year: 2000
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Stars: Ryan Phillippe, Benicio Del Toro, Juliette Lewis, Taye Diggs, James Caan, Nicky Katt, Geoffrey Lewis, Dylan Kussman, Scott Wilson, Kristin Lehman, Henry Griffin, Armando Guerrero, Andres Orozco, José Perez
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Parker (Ryan Phillippe) and Longbaugh (Benicio Del Toro) are a couple of luckless criminals drifting cross-country in search of their big score. Convinced they’ll land a big ransom, the gun-toting duo kidnap Robin (Juliette Lewis), a surrogate mother bearing a child for millionaire Hale Chidduck (Scott Wilson) and his young trophy wife Francesca (Kristin Lehman). However, the pair quickly realise they’re in way over their heads. Chidduck is a front man for the mob and hires veteran bagman Joe Sarno (James Caan) to handle negotiations, though he seems to have a vested interest in the final outcome. Meanwhile, Francesca is having an affair with Chidduck’s trusted bodyguard Jeffers (Taye Diggs), who together with partner Obecks (Nicky Katt) concoct their own scheme to eliminate everyone save for the unborn child and make off with the ransom money. All these various schemers finally come together for a blood-splattered showdown at a Mexican hacienda where Robin endures a truly nightmarish labour while the bullets fly.

Here is a cautionary tale for any aspiring filmmakers. Even after winning an Oscar for The Usual Suspects (1995), Christopher McQuarrie found Hollywood studios had no interest in funding any of his projects and wanted him solely as a writer-for-hire. To raise his stock and find backing for his proposed epic about Alexander the Great, McQuarrie made this small scale, hard hitting action-thriller but wound up creating more of a cult oddity than a top-dollar grosser.

Aiming for that similar mix of cowboy spirit and south of the border horror found in Sam Peckinpah pictures like The Getaway (1972) and the much underrated Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974), McQuarrie spins an intriguing yarn in The Way of the Gun, crafting a plot that takes some neat twists and turns. However, the film is wilfully quirky with its lead anti-heroes dubbed after the real names of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, while James Caan’s character is named after porn director Joe Sarno. Many of the criticisms often unfairly levelled at Quentin Tarantino apply here. Every character is a hardened professional. Everybody is ice cool. They all talk in the clipped patterns of a hardboiled noir hero and have their own existential philosophy to impart.

But while the dialogue may be overly florid at least it’s good dialogue, delivered with relish by a more than capable cast. That said, the real star turns come courtesy of Seventies hard men like Juliette’s real-life father, Geoffrey Lewis - wonderfully wry as a terminally ill gunman - and especially James Caan. Caan is magnificent, striding through shootouts with a laidback, world-weary machismo as he puts the cocky young guns in their place. McQuarrie leavens some of the film’s more unpalatable aspects with a charming scene between Caan and Benicio Del Toro where each affirms their mutual respect, and the moving interplay between Robin, her kidnappers and Sarno at the finale.

Elsewhere, McQuarrie trades the dry wit of The Usual Suspects for a streak of geeky shock humour as evident from the intro where Ryan Phillippe repeatedly punches a young Sarah Silverman in the face. It is something of a lad’s mag crime movie, from its casual misogyny, self-consciously eccentric set-pieces and philosophical asides, and women written off as either mouthy bitches or manipulative ciphers rather too cavalierly stamped with that ugly word that rhymes with “stunt.”

There are some unique action sequences, such as the screen’s slowest car chase where drivers stalk each other through back alleys, and the shootouts benefit from the input of McQuarrie’s brother, a navy SEAL, as technical advisor. Parker and Longbaugh’s carefully coordinated movements and use of cover and room-clearing tactics have that ring of authenticity. McQuarrie handles the climactic shootout well, even if it lacks the visceral satisfaction wrought by Peckinpah or John Woo, but the closing scene is rather too obtuse for its own good. A cracking score by Joe Kramer greatly enhances suspense.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2761 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: