Tag Archives: Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Top 5: Macho Gunfights

Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down

Essentially one long macho gunfight from start to finish, just with a little talking at either end and a suitably emotive, melancholic theme in Denez Prigent’s Gortoz a ran – J’attend (credit also to Hans Zimmer).

Black Hawk Down portrays the Battle of Mogadishu by showing empathy for both the East African people (apart from the Somalia Militia) and the American military forces with relative amounts of tact and respect (particularly for a Michael Bay production). Although let’s be honest, the film’s real purpose is as much about communicating the tragedy of the continued violence in parts of The Horn of Africa as Blood Diamond is concerned with the spurious diamond trade.

Black Hawk Down is all about the gunfight. There is so much shouting, weaponry and bravado, John Rambo wouldn’t even know which way was up if he was casually invited. If you are looking for a recent history lesson, pick up a big book (or at least the one this film is based on). If you are looking for a couple of hours of ‘man time’, watch Black Hawk Down.

Best bit: Tom Sizemore strolling around in the middle of a particularly hairy exchange of bullets as if looking for the ideal picnic spot, while all of his comrades take cover around him.

 

Heat

Al Pacino in Heat

The best macho gunfight ever committed to film. No arguments please, because I will not listen. If you disagree, it’s because you are wrong. It will never be beaten, nothing will ever come close – not even Michael Mann himself when trying to duplicate it in both Public Enemies and Miami Vice.

As if Mann hadn’t struck enough gold by securing one of the best ensemble casts in film history, he then has the audacity to stick them into a thoroughly compelling cops and robbers story of epic proportions, give them all guns – at the same time and force them to point them at each other by making the stakes immensely high. A chaotic yet controlled ten minutes of pure cinematic mastery ensues.

Best Bit: Chris Shiherlis’ (Val Kilmer) split-second reaction outside the bank as the cops appear from behind a departing coach.

 

True Romance

True Romance

True Romance is quite possibly the coolest film ever made. It has a colossal ensemble cast who all kindly get together at the end to shoot holes in each other for our viewing pleasure. As is apparently the theme for all good macho gunfights, every single prop and element of mis-en-scene gets obliterated, most notably some feathery cushions. But, this time, the majority of the characters expire too. Kudos to Tony Scott for keeping the death rate suitably high, but it could have quite easily become even more destructive (even Christian Slater’s Clarence Worley dies in Quentin Tarantino’s original script).

Best bit: Tom Sizemore being Tom Sizemore with the help of the poor man’s Tom Sizemore – the late Chris Penn.

 

Predator

Predator

The greatest macho action film ever made also features one of the best gunfights. Bill Duke’s Mac captures a glimpse of the translucent extreme sport-obsessed hunter and proceeds to unload his gigantic weapon in its general direction. Cue the rest of the platoon as they line up next to him and join in the fun without even batting an eyelid as to what they may be shooting at. Shots of muscle and metal are cut with shrubbery being fatally injured and the un-environmentally friendly massacre only comes to an end when all ammunition is positively wasted. I didn’t catch the rest but I think they wounded Slimer at some point.

Best Bit: Mac’s nervous trigger finger maintaining its grip on an emptied old-painless – sounding an unnerving, yet exhilarating metallic grind.

 

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

Assault on Precinct 13

Much like Predator but somehow more ridiculous, this bullet laden scene in John Carpenter’s classic is gloriously silly as it is essentially a one way blind gunfight where anything but humans get pumped full of lead: stationary, office desks, windows, walls, windows again. Even a stack of paper which is depicted as if it is suffering more than Willem Defoe in Platoon is ripped to shreds repeatedly – pure machismo.

Best bit: The ludicrous amount of continuous shots which purely feature inanimate objects being demolished.

 

Honourable mention goes too:

The Way of the Gun

The Way of the GunThe epitome of cool as Mr Parker and Mr Longbaugh (Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro) take on an army of uncompromising ‘bag-men’ in the final confrontation of this stylish and mature modern-day Western.

 

Originally posted at MouthLondon

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I Don’t Care What Anyone Says…

Romantic Comedies

…Schwarzenegger and Belushi started it.


The Top 5: Car Chase Scenes

Ronin

RoninRonin is renowned for featuring some of the most accomplished car chase scenes in modern film. They are fast paced, with a heady mix of technical excellence and talented stuntwork – all amidst a glorious French backdrop.

For the chase scenes to look completely authentic, they were shot on location in Paris and Nice by Director John Frankenheimer and involved hundreds of stunt-personnel and quite a few car wrecks.

There’s no surprise Ronin is held in such high regard when it comes to car chase sequences – by the time Ronin was released in 1998, Frankenheimer had already earned his place in car chase cinema heaven with Grand Prix (1966) and The French Connection (1975).

As well as the break-neck pace of Ronin’s car chases it is the editing which really cements their status as some of the best ever. Whereas most filmmakers choose a particular style regarding shot-types to convey their thrills, in Ronin we are treated to everything all at once – from extreme close-ups of a gear stick being shifted, to a long shot of the cars swerving around the French streets.

Way of the Gun

Way of the GunAn unconventional car chase but an ingenious one where hostage takers Mr. Parker and Mr. Longbaugh (Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro) are pursued by the emotionless bodyguards, Jeffers and Obecks (Taye Diggs and Nicky Katt) who are tasked with retrieving their employer’s surrogate mother.

Although possibly the slowest car chase in cinematic history, it is still one of the most nail-biting. Parker and Longbaugh evade their foe by walking their car through alleyways (like you would a skateboard) and diving into doorways, only to re-emerge elsewhere enabling them to distance themselves from their fooled pursuers.

The chase culminates in Jeffers and Obecks rounding a corner only to be met with the tail end of their targets car. They are battered and bruised, and Parker and Longbaugh are free to flee. But not before Parker decides to walk up to the written-off car and aim his gun at Jeffers’ head purposefully. He then turns and leaves. Parker’s point? Making them realise they are not just battered and bruised, but well and truly beaten as well.

The French Connection

The French ConnectionThis list wouldn’t be complete without the frantic pursuit by Gene Hackman’s Popeye Doyle in a 1971 Pontiac LeMans as he tries to catch up with a hitman who has escaped and is riding an elevated train.

This sequence was filmed in Brooklyn and featured an array of dangerous stunts. It’s no wonder you feel as though you’re in the thick of the action with Hackman – it was filmed without any permission from the City of New York!

As the chase gets heated, Popeye’s car gets increasingly punished and it seems as though he’s going to lose control. He almost does at one point when having to swerve out of the way of a mother and baby, instead sending a stack of crates flying instead – an often emulated cliché of the car chase set-up, but one which has never been beaten for suspense.

Children of Men

Children of MenIf Way of the Gun features the slowest car chase in cinematic history, then the chase in Children of Men certainly gives it a run (or walk) for its money.

Clive Owen’s Theo, has learned two things in the last 24 hours. Firstly, in an infertile world, Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey) is pregnant. Secondly, her supposed protectors and friends have rather immoral motives and intentions. The second thing he learnt wasn’t supposed to be for his ears.

His plan? Silently grab Kee and sneak her out of the farm by jumping in a car and rolling it down the hill. They only get halfway before they disturb the angry mob, who chase them.

By this point the tension is bubbling along nicely. But by the time Theo and Kee reach the bottom of the hill only to have to push before starting the car, the tension becomes unbearable as their prey gain on them fast.

The tensest moment? When an armed Patric (Charlie Hunnam) catches up with the car and has a clear shot at them all. Before his screams of permission to shoot are cleared, Theo slams the door open, knocking him over.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Terminator 2: Judgment DayTerminator 2: Judgment Day is basically one long chase scene. One of the most heart-thumping sequences is when John Connor (Edward Furlong) is trying to evade the T1000 (Robert Patrick). As if the odds weren’t already stacked in the killing machine’s favour, he is driving a great big truck and Connor is on a small motorbike.

As Connor makes it onto an underpass, he stops and looks back thinking he may have escaped. Only for the T1000 to come crashing through a wall from the street onto the underpass.

Connor does his best to out-run and out-manoeuvre, but he’s losing the race. That is until Arnie’s Terminator comes flying into the fray on a powerful, grumbling Chopper. Once he grabs Connor and blows out a tyre on the truck, the pair are able to escape, as the truck crashes into a wall and explodes.

The best bit? The coolest way ever to reload a shotgun! While steering the Chopper with one hand, Arnie swings his shotgun around like a show-off cowboy, cocking it ready to fire.

N.B. I realise that technically there are no cars in this scene but two motorbikes and a truck is close enough.