×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Gunmen

Cashing in on the appeal of stars Mario Van Peebles and Christopher Lambert, "Gunmen" is a routine, vacuous actioner that tries to mix thrills with humor. Saddled with an uninvolving B plot, pic will be more popular in Europe, where Lambert is a marketable star, than domestically, and it may prove to be a better video rental than a bigscreen presentation.

With:
Dani Servigo - Christopher Lambert
Cole Parker - Mario Van Peebles
Armor O'Malley - Denis Leary
Loomis - Patrick Stewart
Izzy - Kadeem Hardison
Bennett - Sally Kirkland
Chief Chavez - Richard Sarafian
Rance - Robert Harper
Maria - Brenda Bakke

Cashing in on the appeal of stars Mario Van Peebles and Christopher Lambert, “Gunmen” is a routine, vacuous actioner that tries to mix thrills with humor. Saddled with an uninvolving B plot, pic will be more popular in Europe, where Lambert is a marketable star, than domestically, and it may prove to be a better video rental than a bigscreen presentation.

Scripter Stephen Sommers, who last year wrote and directed “The Adventures of Huck Finn,” constructs a formulaic tale of chase and revenge that combines elements of both the action and Western genres. Cole Parker (Van Peebles), a N.Y. special forces agent working with the Drug Enforcement Agency, is sent to an unnamed South American country to confiscate the illegal gains stolen from a drug dealer who murdered his father.

The adventure begins when Parker busts out of jail Dani Servigo (Lambert), an offbeat outlaw who is supposed to know the site of the huge fortune. The two men , who bicker and play pranks on each other, are soon pursued by Armor O’Malley (Denis Leary), a ruthless killer, hired by drug lord Peter Loomis (Patrick Stewart) to halt Parker and recover the money that was snatched from him.

As written by Sommers and directed by Deran Sarafian, “Gunmen” suffers from serious storytelling problems: The violent se quences erupt senselessly without much attention to logic or continuity. Sarafian gives the picture an erratic, high-strung pace.

Van Peebles’ considerable acting talents are largely wasted on what’s basically a stereotypical, underwritten role; in most scenes, he’s allowed to utter no more than one sentence. Lambert, usually a bland action hero and trying to widen his limited range, lacks the necessary skills to pull off what’s intended as light and humorous dialogue.

Stewart, who’s been impressive in his TV work (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”), registers strongly as a physical presence but plays a cliched arch villain. As the tough, foul-mouthed villainess, Brenda Bakke is given an embarrassing sex scene that is meant to be amusing.

All the actors are burdened with inane lines and conduct: Lambert rolls his eyes with relish as he eats flies or bugs. The bloody battles — which include the requisite fist fights as well as the “novelty” of the comrades shooting each other in the leg — exist for no apparent reason other than sheer macho exuberance.

Production values, particularly Hiro Narita’s lensing around Puerto Vallarta, are proficient, though Bonnie Koehler’s editing is abrupt and lacks fluidity.

Mindlessly cartoonish, “Gunmen” lacks the expected frills and spiteful tension of a serviceable actioner.

Gunmen

Production: A Miramax/Dimension Films release. Produced by Laurence Mark, John Davis, John Flock. Executive producers, Lance Hool, Conrad Hool. Co-producers, James Gorman, John Baldecchi. Directed by Deran Sarafian. Screenplay, Stephen Sommers.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe color), Hiro Narita; editor, Bonnie Koehler; music, John Debney; production design, Michael Seymour; art direction, Hector Romero Jr.; set decoration, Ian Whitaker, Enrique Estevez; costume design, Betsy Heimann; sound (Dolby), Fernando Camara; special effects, Jesus (Chucho) Duran; assistant director, Sebastian Silva; casting, Terry Liebling. Reviewed at the Laemmle Sunset 5, L.A., Jan. 7, 1994. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 90 min.

With: Dani Servigo - Christopher Lambert
Cole Parker - Mario Van Peebles
Armor O'Malley - Denis Leary
Loomis - Patrick Stewart
Izzy - Kadeem Hardison
Bennett - Sally Kirkland
Chief Chavez - Richard Sarafian
Rance - Robert Harper
Maria - Brenda Bakke

More Film

  • Romanian Crime-Thriller 'The Whistlers' Bought for

    Romanian Crime-Thriller 'The Whistlers' Bought for North America

    Magnolia Pictures has bought North American rights to the Romanian crime thriller “The Whistlers” following its premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Written and directed by Corneliu Porumboiu, the film stars Vlad Ivanov, Catrinel Marlon, Rodica Lazar, Antonio Buil, Agustí Villaronga, Sabin Tambrea, Julieta Szonyi and George Pisterneanu. Magnolia is eyeing a theatrical [...]

  • Naomi Scott Talks Rebooting Princess Jasmine

    'Aladdin': Naomi Scott on Why Her Princess Jasmine Needed Nasim Pedrad's New Character

    Call Naomi Scott the queen of the reboot – or at least, the princess. The 26-year-old actress is taking on the role of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s live-action remake of “Aladdin,” but it’s not her first time jumping into a role that’s already been well-established. Audiences may recognize Scott from 2017’s “Power Rangers” update, where [...]

  • Moby Natalie Portman

    Moby Accuses Natalie Portman of Lying as the Two Spar Over Dating Claims

    In what’s become a he said/she said spat in multiple mediums, Moby, the elder statesman of electronic music, is now accusing actress Natalie Portman of lying and pleading to those on social media for his safety as “physical threats from complete strangers” emerge. To recap: this month, Moby released a new book, “Then It All [...]

  • A QUIET PLACE Emily Blunt

    'A Quiet Place' Sequel Moves Ahead Two Months to March 2020

    Paramount Pictures has moved its sequel to “A Quiet Place” ahead by two months from May 15 to March 20, 2020. John Krasinski is returning to direct the still-untitled movie with Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe reprising their roles. Cillian Murphy is joining the cast. “A Quiet Place” grossed $340 million at the [...]

  • Sony Pictures Classics Buys Michael Covino's

    Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Buys Michael Covino's 'The Climb'

    Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all worldwide rights, excluding France and German-speaking Europe, to Michael Angelo Covino’s buddy comedy “The Climb.” The film premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival and won the Un Certain Regard Heart Prize alongside “A Brother’s Love” on Friday. Covino directed, co-wrote (with Kyle Marvin) [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Heads for Magical $100 Million Opening in North America

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” is heading for at least $100 million in North America during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend, early estimates showed Friday. “Aladdin” will likely finish Friday with around $30 million, including $7 million in Thursday night previews. Sony’s launch of horror-thriller “Brightburn” should pull in about $10 million for the holiday weekend and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content