Tag Archives: John Carpenter

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.



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.




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


The Top 5: Worst Film Titles

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

Surely, Surely at some point someone would have plucked up the courage to say ” erm, scuse me…errr…ab…about the title…do you think. erm, maybe it’s, maybe it’s erm…not quite right. Maybe?”

No obviously not. A cake load of money was spent on a sequel to an enjoyable teen-slasher. It was thought out and produced with care and attention just like any other film (almost). And then some idiot came up with the bright idea to give it a name that makes less sense than anything. Ever.

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer

You know when I just said that last title made “less sense than anything. Ever.”… Well, I take that back…

I can only assume that this was a case of, “Well, we ballsed up the last one, we may as well just completely take the piss this time.”

You know that feeling you get when something is so strange and so mind-boggling that you can’t even begin to comprehend how or why it materialised? All you can do is shake your head and pull a face like someone’s just walked in your kitchen, poo’d on your floor and then kicked it in your face? Yeah, that feeling was made for this film title.

Thir13en Ghosts

Thir13en GhostsThis film title just simply goes one step too far.

Trying to modernise a classic horror does not mean reaching out to the cool kids by replacing some of the letters with numbers.

And it’s not even close. Okay, a 3 looks a bit like a backwards e – how very hip. But since when was the number 1 a good substitute for a t? Obviously it doesn’t help that the films absolutely awful to boot.

The Happening

Now you may think this lazy title is just latest of many like it. The Thing right? Or It even? No. These films justified their simple titles and in fact, with these two films in particular, their titles only increased the fear factor and alienation for the monsters which are identified by them. They were called ‘The Thing’ and ‘It’, because that’s what their victims knew them as – horrific nightmares so far away from humanity as they knew it, there isn’t even a name in our humble vocabulary to offer them.

But The Happening? Just lazy. The fact that no one seemed to know what was happening (including the Director) is just a laughable irony. This sorry excuse for a title could be chucked at any film with a slightly surreal or science-fictiony theme and it would make a little bit of sense. It doesn’t make it right though. And while I’m at it, The Knowing can be bundled into this submission as well. Shameful. What’s next? Just sounds maybe? How about a film called wuh, or blaaaah. May as well.

The Thing

No, it’s not what you think. I’m not going soft in the head and arguing with myself. The original film’s title is fine. No qualms with that one. But the 2011 release? Well they’ve just gone and named it exactly the same as the first one haven’t they.The Thing (2011)

As if the American’s don’t get confused enough. Don’t go and make it harder for them. If it was a remake of John Carpenter’s classic it would be fine. Quite fitting actually. But it’s not. It’s a prequel.

So. Thanks to these idiots (whoever they are), this is the conversation which will always be had by many a film enthusiast until the end of time:

“Have you seen The Thing?”

“Which one?”

“The one in the snow where the dog turns all tentacley”

“No, I know that. I mean which one?”

“Oh, sorry. I meant the first one.”

“You mean the one which came first, or the one which starts first?”

“Oh sorry. I mean…wait”

Fuck’s sake.

Are there any worse than these? Let me know if there are any titles which make you angry too…

Bad Over-Acting From a Silhouette