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Mean Guns (1997) __EXCLUSIVE__

One hundred mid- and low-level gangsters who are on their boss' bad side are locked inside a newly-built high-security prison, and given plenty of guns, ammo, and baseball bats, then told that the last survivor will get a suitcase with 10 million dollars.

Mean Guns (1997)

Hahaha holy shit, Pyun's entry in the ultraviolent Tarantino crime thriller knockoff subgenre is totally nuts, everybody is in a prison at the beginning, then gets showered in guns, bullets, and bats, which allows for nearly two hours of increasingly chaotic mayhem. I want - no, I NEED - to see this on film or at least in its proper aspect ratio some day.

Ricky: Hey, I happen to have a healthy respect for profanity. They're just not happy words and they don't make me happy to hear them. To use something over and over until it has no meaning. Hell hell hell hell hell.

The Beretta 92FS is one of the most frequently used guns in the film. Lou (Christopher Lambert) is seen using four different Beretta pistols, including one taken from African-American thug named Blondie (Jahi J.J. Zuri); three of which he tosses in the process of the game. Lou, Bob (Jerry Rector) and Crow (Thom Mathews) are also seen dual-wielding Berettas along with other guns. Cam (Deborah Van Valkenbourgh) receives her Beretta 92FS gun from Marcus (Michael Halsey). Barbie (Tina Cote) also uses a Beretta 92FS (taken from Lenny, the thug she killed with a baseball bat).There's also various thugs, including Ricky (James Wellington), using the Beretta 92F (most likely even the same props) during the film.

A Ruger Security Six is first seen in the movie as the revolver "D" gives up before she enters the prison. This revolver also appears to be used by Blondie (Jahi J.J. Zuri) when all the thugs starting to click their empty guns to each other and is later used by Cam (Deborah Van Valkenbourgh) in the climatic shootout.

The prestigious American Film Institute will probably never recognize Hawaiian movie director Albert Pyun for his cinematic achievements. Pyun has helmed over 40 films since 1982, including titles such as "Adrenalin" (1996), "Kickboxer 4" (1994), "Omega Doom" (1996), "Nemesis" (1993), "Captain America" (1992), "Bloodmatch" (1991), "Dollman" (1991), "Cyborg" (1989), and "The Sword and the Sorcerer" (1982). Moreover, Pyun has written 14 of his own feature films, many of those mentioned above as well as "Radioactive Dreams" (1986), "Heatseeker" (1995), and "Nemesis 2" (1995). Pyun's action-adventure sagas belong to either the science fiction or martial arts genres. Typically, Pyun's virile heroes find themselves entangled in suicidal situations against villains who appear in greater numbers or who have special mutant features that give them a deadly edge. The women in his movies are not slacker by any sense of the imagination. They are sometimes as strong, if not stronger, than his brawny indestructible male protagonists.All the "Mean Guns" characters are indisputably unsavory. You wouldn't have lunch with any of them. Christopher Lambert's Lou emerges as an extremely dangerous dude with a puff-adder smile who revels in killing bad guys. As revealed in the film's expository dialogue, Lou's cute daughter has been raped. This incident turned Lou into a rabidly unstable killer who the syndicate feels is better off dead. Michael Halsey gives the sinister Marcus the full benefit of his hypnotic Mick Jagger personality, his stern features, and his gravel voice."Mean Guns" delivers everything its generic title promises. Toplining "Highlander" star Christopher Lambert and rapper Ice-T, Andrew Witham's brawling screenplay focuses on an army of vicious mobsters who have betrayed a crime syndicate by snitching, stealing, seeing too much, plotting disloyal acts, or failing to do enough. Instead of hiring hit squads to cap these cretins, gangster Vincent Moon (Ice-T) has devised a more interesting alternative. The crime syndicate has financed the construction of a modern prison with pay-offs, so Vincent sees this as the ideal arena to obtain redemption. The day before this state-of-the-art correctional facility opens; Vincent schedules a no-holds-barred shoot'em-up on the premises. What makes this prison so perfect for Vincent's macabre scheme is its vast network of video cameras. During his tirade to the hundred or so hit men that he has assembled for this bedlam, Vincent proclaims that the syndicate can enjoy the playback of their massacre. "It's better than pay-TV," Vincent screams with maniacal glee.Vincent's rules are few but simple. Only three hooligans will emerge from this baptism by gunfire. Everybody else must die! These miscreants have six hours to rub each other out, before Vincent Wipes them out himself. Anybody who tries to escape will be 'disqualified' permanently. Sharp-shooting snipers prow the prison walls. As an incentive, Moon offers a $10-thousand reward to the three surviving killers to divide up among themselves, at $3.3 million per person. Vincent's henchmen disarmed these cutthroats before they entered the hoosegow, so that everybody gets a fresh start. After Moon's speech, his men dump an arsenal of guns, ammo, and Louisville sluggers at their feet.Happily, little is predictable in freshman scenarist Andrew Witham's bullet-blasting screenplay. The story vaguely resembles novelist Richard Connell's oft-filmed classic "The Most Dangerous Game," where an innocent man battles for his life against a homicidal madman on a remote island. The island in "Mean Guns" is the prison. Witham and Pyun confine the bedlam to the prison where Lou (Christopher Lambert), Marcus (Michael Halsey), Dee (Kimberly Warren), and Con (Deborah Van Valkenbugh) must dispatch hordes of gun-toting, bat-wielding bruisers with extreme prejudice. Witham's script makes reference also to Agatha Christie's timeless yarn "Ten Little Indians." Other cinematic allusions are made to "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." In one scene that recalls Eli Wallach's gunfight in a bubble-bath with a loquacious killer, Ice-T repeatedly warns a knife-wielding hood that he should throw his knife instead of wag his tongue. When the evildoer ignores Ice-T's advice, the criminal mastermind kills him. The final outcome is nothing that you'd expect from a straight-to-tape actioneer, and elements of the Leone classic appear here, too. Some of the dialogue pays homage to other famous Hollywood movies. When Lou threatens to kill Con, Marcus borrows a line about solidarity from Sam Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch" about sticking together.Albert Pyun choreographs his multiple, high-body count shoot-outs with the comparable acrobatic aplomb of the late Sergio Leone, the maestro of the spaghetti western, or John Woo, today's popular Asian filmmaker. At one point, two-gun packing Christopher Lambert cavorts from table to table in a dining hall blasting away at scores of bad guys without missing a single shot! Talk about fantasy! Nevertheless, Pyun avoids lingering on the aftermath of the violence. He depicts the shootings, stabbings, and slugging with clinical, antiseptic care. Indeed, "Mean Guns" is a bloodbath, but there's comparatively little blood. Instead, Pyun displays greater concern in charging up the adrenalin content in his action scenes, none of which are as brutal as his previous effort, the hugely underrated "Adrenalin." Obviously, the squeamish will loathe "Mean Guns" with it s dark, subversive humor and its nihilist sentiments about a world warped, according to one character, by television. At the oddest moments, something silly occurs that catches you off guard. For example, as an elevator carrying the gunmen to the prison ascends for the staging area, the sounds of mambo music fill the air. Two tough guys abruptly break into an improvised dance. In another instance, when the killers scramble to arm themselves as an arsenal of hardware showers down on them, they start firing at each other. The humor here is that their weapons are empty, and the comedic effect comes from the way that Pyun films their frenzied efforts to kill as many of their opponents as possible. Overall, Pyun achieves a surreal effect with his over-the-t0p, bloodless, wall-to-wall violence where only the featured celebrities survive and the anonymous extras drop like flies.

I can agree with other sentiments here: "Mean Guns" is more than just the standard B movie. I was lured to this thing by the names involved, but what we get here is not relentlessly predictable stuff. A crime boss named Vincent Moon (Ice-T) gathers a large group of lowlifes together, people who've "betrayed" their organization basically by being screw-ups. Moon's idea is to put all of them into a "kill or be killed" situation, providing them with various weapons, and the last three standing will supposedly walk away with the sum of $10 million. In addition to The T, we get other B movie perennials doing their thing; Christopher Lambert brings his own brand of acting to a more jovial - and unhinged - character than usual. Also appearing are Deborah Van Valkenburgh ("The Warriors"), Thom Mathews ("The Return of the Living Dead"), Yuji Okumoto ("The Karate Kid, Part II"), Tina Cote ("Omega Doom"), Kimberly Warren ("Blast"), and Michael Halsey ("Dollman"). Hoke Howell of such classics as "Kingdom of the Spiders" and "Humanoids from the Deep" has a cameo at the outset. As one will notice, the cast is largely made up of regulars in the films of the prolific Albert Pyun, and it don't matter if the acting ain't ever gonna win any awards; it still gets the job done. The T is amusing in the lead, and Lambert is actually a hoot, although it's veteran Halsey that really stands out, playing one of the most interesting characters in the whole thing. Van Valkenburgh is likable enough as the most sympathetic of them all. Mathews and Okumoto have their moments as a consistently bantering pair of buddies. It's hard to knock a movie that immediately goes for the approach of underscoring the fast and furious action with mambo music, which adds to the humour. Of course, when one sees the ridiculous fate of one of the characters, they'll see this is never meant to be taken too seriously. At an hour and 50 minutes it IS awfully long for this sort of thing, but that kooky charm still pervades the proceedings. And, despite all the violence, there's really no gore at all. Fans of low budget escapist fare should find this reasonably interesting and diverting, all the way to its unexpected ending. Seven out of 10. 041b061a72


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