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Monday, February 21, 2011

GUN or How The NRA Learned To Stop Worrying and Love 50 Cent

What can I say... just look at that poster. The only thing fun about this movie was writing the review for it.

What it's about:

A crime thriller revolving around a cat-and-mouse game played by a hardened cop, a thuggish arms dealer and an ex-con with connections to both.

What we thought:

Having big time music stars try their hand at movie making is not exactly anything new. Elvis did it. The Beatles did it. And Bowie, Mos Def and LL Cool J continue to do it. Rappers, in particular, have been very drawn to films. Along with Mos Def and LL Cool J, rap heavyweights like Eminem, Snoop Dog and P Diddy have all done solid work in cinema. Would that I could say the same about 50 Cent. Gun may not be his first big screen outing but it really, really needs to be his last.

The guy clearly has his ambition in the right place. Not only does he star in Gun, he produced and wrote it as well. It's a pity then that he does not match that ambition with any real talent. I have a totally deaf ear for rap so I can't comment on his music but it's hard to imagine that he can be as bad in that field as he is here. The only thing challenging or interesting about Gun is deciding whether he's worse as an actor or as a writer. Well, that and I also couldn't stop wondering why on earth a dude with as cool a name as Curtis Jackson would go by the utterly befuddling moniker of 50 Cent. If my name was Curtis Jackson, I sure as hell wouldn't change it.

But I digress. Gun is very simply a very bad movie. There really is no getting around that. The direction may be moderately adequate but the characters are paper thin, the dialogue cringe-inducing and the story itself is so obstinately by-the-numbers that to call it generic would be to give all other generic crime thrillers a bad name. There is not an ounce of wit, ingenuity, invention or creativity to be found in its mercifully short (but not short enough) running time.

As for the performances, the less said about 50 Cent's charisma-free, woefully wooden acting the better. Far more troubling are Val Kilmer and John Larroquete. OK, Val Kilmer is a decidedly variable actor who has been in some fairly awful movies in his time but it's depressing to see how little he's done with the good will he built up after having his career resuscitated by Shane Black and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. While his co-star, Robert Downey Jr - a man whose career was in far worse repair than Kilmer's before doing that movie - went on to deservedly become one of Hollywood's best and most beloved stars, Kilmer has been reduced to doing this. What the hell happened?

As for the usually terrific John Larroquete, one has to wonder just what 50 Cent has on him to get him to appear in this steaming pile of faeces. Well, whatever it was, it certainly didn't get Larroquete to put any effort into his part. If the other actors are wooden in their parts, Larroquete is downright stone-cold dead. And, really, who could blame him?

The worst part about the film, though, isn't just that it's creatively bankrupt, badly acted and terminally dull – though that's bad enough, surely – it's that it has a very sinister undercurrent running through it. A fetish-like attitude towards guns is not exactly unheard of in film (see Wanted and The American for two obvious recent examples) but Gun's attitude towards firearms and crime in general is seriously unsettling.

That we're meant to sympathise at all with 50 Cent's reprehensible street thug is bad enough (are we really supposed to excuse this ruthless cold-blooded murdering scumbag just because he had a tough childhood?) but the way guns play into his "secret origin" is especially obnoxious. Basically, both his parents were gunned down in front of him, as we learn in one of the film's many flashbacks, but the thing we're supposed to take away from that isn't "Gee, aren't guns bad!" but "Gee, wouldn't things have been better if I had a gun!" What the hell? Since when did the NRA make movies? Or maybe they just sponsored it?

Either way, there are actually two good things about Gun. First, it appears to be on limited release locally. So it probably won’t have the opportunity to offend as many people as, say,Burlesque will.

Oh. What's the other good thing about it? Well, I'm pleased to announce that there is a certain South African film coming up that is even worse and even more repugnant than Gun. And it's only January! Could you imagine what the rest of the year will bring?


  1. Loved that review! I think you should meet 50 Cent some day, and sort out your issues! Go with a bullet proof vest though!!

  2. No need for that. We can come to a very simple arrangement: he stops making godawful movies, I stop hating them.