We got around to finally watching "The International
" and its much-buzzed-about Guggenheim Museum shootout scene. The sequence lives up to the hype, as "Run Lola Run" director Tom Tykwer mixes realism and surrealism to awesome effect.
With this past week's release of the John Dillinger flick "Public Enemies
," another film that promises to deliver some bitchin' bang-bang, it seemed like a good time to round up our all-time favorite shoot-out scenes.
Before you start in on us, the ending to "Reservoir Dogs" doesn't count, as that is clearly a standoff, not a shootout. Also, pioneering efforts like Sam Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch" melée miss the cut due to technical limitations that made the squibs in that scene look like melted red crayons. Sorry, old guys. Also left out are great TV shootouts, like the Jesse James scene from "The Brady Bunch." Sorry, Jan.
After the jump, take aim at the five best shootout scenes
" -- Street Scene
Directed by "Public Enemies" helmer Michael Mann, the running gun battle that follows the De Niro crew's last bank robbery is the standard against which all other epic shootouts are measured. It's that rare scene in a movie that seems to go on forever, yet still leaves you wanting more. From the explosive sound editing to the percussive score, this is an absolutely perfect scene. There are about 30 minutes of awesome action movie in this nearly three-hour film, sandwiched between hammy overacting and characters that you won't give a damn about, but it's worth every minute.
" -- the "Danny Boy" Scene
This Joel and Ethan Coen gangster flick is probably their most underrated. Replete with snappy dialogue, indelible characters and period imagery so sharp, you can taste the scotch, it also features the most poetic shootout we've ever seen. As "Danny Boy" plays on the Victrola, the Coens build the suspense to a nerve-racking pitch. In the end, Albert Finney's Leo withstands an assassination attempt by a gang of rival hitmen, and
a house fire, then proceeds to pursue the wheelmen, on foot, in his bathrobe
. With all due respect to Marge Gunderson, this flick leaves "Fargo" in the dust.
" -- Warehouse Scene
Because it's technically only a one-way shootout, we were unable to consider ED 209 vs. Cubicle Nerd, but it wouldn't have beaten Murphy's assault on the cocaine warehouse that culminates in bad guy Clarence Boddicker's arrest. Robocop methodically strides through a hail of chaos, shooting over-the-shoulder in an action movie version of the "no-look pass," and calmly dispatching frantic baddies as if he's shopping for Hot Pockets at Sam's Club. Totally badass.
" -- Zero Casualties
Even though Edward Furlong's John Connor character lamely orders his pet Terminator not to kill anyone, James Cameron still manages to eke out one of the best shootout scenes ever. Completely surrounded by cops at the Cyberdyne office building, Arnold quickly scans his opposition, then turns the assembled emergency response vehicles into Swiss cheese with what one of them calls "a damn minigun!" Yeah, we can see how that thing was made for portability. Say what you will about Cameron's films ("Alien
" was definitely better than "Aliens
"), but the guy knows his way around a shootout.
"The Outlaw Josey Wales
" -- "You gonna pull those pistols, or whistle Dixie?"
This under-appreciated Clint Eastwood gem (unruinable even by Sondra Locke) features some of Clint's best tough-guy line-growlings, like the one that kicks off the shootout between his Josey Wales, and the Union soldiers who are hunting him. Eastwood directs the scene masterfully, ratcheting up the tension as the soldiers recognize the outlaw and slow to a stop. The shootout lasts only a few seconds, but conveys the message that Wales is not to be messed with, and as he says later in the film, "Dyin' ain't much of a living."
Comic Honorable Mention
: "Hot Shots! Part Deux
" Like "The Empire Strikes Back," HSp2 is the rare sequel that eclipses the original. A spoof of the Rambo movies, the film features an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink flurry of shoot-'em-up sight gags, punctuated by a chipper Miguel Ferrer's exclamation of "War! It's fan