Forgotten Action Cinema: Gunmen



After weathering the contagious cinematic disease known amongst hardcore film fanatics as “Highlander 3: The Sorcerer” (aka “Highlander: The Final Dimension”), it’s anyone’s guess why I decided to investigate the dodgy 1994 Christopher Lambert/Mario Van Peebles action extravaganza “Gunmen.” Am I a glutton for punishment, you ask, a miserable beast of a man who enjoys mindlessly tossing his precious free time to the proverbial winds? Perhaps. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m an unapologetic sucker for buddy flicks involving big guns, bad jokes, Sally Kirkland in the nude, Dr. Dre and Ed lover, Big Daddy Kane, Denis Leary, Kadeem Hardison, and a lots of people jumping from elevated surfaces. “Death Warrant” director Deran Sarafian understands the need for an abundance of goofy action and rapid fire humor when your script appears to have been written by someone who’s watched the “Lethal Weapon” series one too many times. For the most part, everything manages to function as it should, providing roughly 90 minutes worth of wonky entertainment to those of us who grew up on this kind of brainless buffoonery. Lambert and Peebles have the sort of friendly on-screen chemistry that never tumbles down that slippery slope into uncomfortable homoerotica, due in part, I think, to the script’s empty, paper-thin characters and its reliance on tired jokes and dated celebrity cameos. In other words, there’s no room for character development or exciting, unexpected plot twists. “Gunmen” is as basic and pedestrian as they come. God help me, I loved every minute. So long, credibility. It’s been swell.