If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what ever happened to Val Kilmer or, perhaps even more inexplicably, why Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson doesn’t just stick to making music, you have two options: quit asking questions and learn to appreciate the bliss of ignorance, or go buy the movie Gun on Blu-Ray.
This action flick, directed by Jessy Terrero and written by “50” himself, follows Richie Taylor, a Detroit criminal who is part street thug and part firearms connoisseur, in his effort to control the streets of his beloved city. Richie kicks off the movie by taking out his esteemed competition, a small-time guns dealer who never saw Richie’s suave ambush at his happening nightclub coming. With the whole city under his thumb and his state-of-the-art military firearms flooding the streets, the only foes he has left are devoted detectives Rogers (Dexter’s James Remar) and Jenkins (Paul Calderon) who won’t rest until the crime lord is brought to justice.
Enter on the scene Angel (Val Kilmer), a common street criminal who just spent ten years in the slammer, but happened to save Richie’s butt during a deal-gone-wrong some 20 years prior. Apparently there is honor among thieves, because Richie not only pays back his debt to Angel with a free firearm, but also offers him a job with his boys, and eventually promotes him to the top of his posse, much to his posse’s dismay. The problem (one among many) is that Angel, while quiet and seemly enough, doesn’t quite strike the viewer as an ambitious golden boy, and Richie’s unquestioning acceptance and rapid promotion of the stringy-haired, pudgy, middle-aged white dude serves either to highlight a gaping hole in the plot or prove that Richie is not quite the brilliant arms dealer he fancies himself. Either way, the result is almost certainly unintended.
This all happens against a backdrop of filthy taverns, dismal warehouses, midnight streets, and an obvious budget problem that betrays itself time and again, mostly in the volume control that punctuates the script with ear-shattering gunfire right in the middle of interminable whispered negotiations. Every now and then Angel gets on the phone to listen to a woman’s voice on an answering machine. She never answers. Never. You do the math. Think The Departed without the subtlety or suaveness, and you’ve pretty much got it. The best thing about Gun is a happy little cameo by John Larroquette toward the end. Oh, and the fact that the whole movie only lasts 82 minutes.
If you’re looking for dazzling special features, you might do a double take. Gun offers subtitle options and a theatrical trailer of the film. I guess they figured the demand was low for a commentary track by “50” and Kilmer.