Christopher McQuarrie masterfully directed, produced and co-wrote the recent action sequel Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, which is now out on digital home video release. Check out his worthy directorial debut, Way of the Gun.
Christopher McQuarrie (screenwriter of The Usual Suspects) tests himself as a director in The Way of the Gun starring Ryan Phillippe (Cruel Intentions), Benicio Del Toro (The Usual Suspects, Excess Baggage), James Caan (The Godfather), and Juliette Lewis (Cape Fear, From Dusk ‘Til Dawn). This fast paced movie provides layers of twists and turns for the audience, but sometimes the plot tries to do too much. Longbaugh and Parker (Del Toro and Phillippe) grow tired of financial problems and the woes of modern society so they decide to make some quick money by kidnapping a pregnant woman named Robin, played by Lewis. Taye Diggs (House on Haunted Hill, How Stella Got Her Groove Back) also factors in as a law enforcement officer named Jeffers.
Longbaugh and Parker can demand money from a wealthy couple because Robin is the couple’s surrogate mother. Caan plays a great supporting role as Joe Sarno that really helps this movie achieve some credible scenes. Caan’s role overshadows the leads, Del Toro and Phillippe, through superior acting and the delivery of his character’s dialogue. Del Toro and Phillippe have too many clichéd lines they say (usually during gunfights) that audiences have seen in other action movies. The audience can identify with virtually every character and McQuarrie makes this action film as original as possible which is extremely hard to accomplish in the action genre.
How can you stage an original gunfight scene without repeating some elements of the numerous action films previously released? It’s odd that the action genre can be criticized for recycling clichés when romances and drama use the same techniques without any such scrutiny.
McQuarrie knows how to spin an interested story into a web of good character development and has learned to set up fairly interesting action scenes. The plot progresses well and entertains the audience with interesting characters participating in good drama and loud splashes of action.
Scott Wilson (Pearl Harbor) also plays a supporting role as Dr. Painter and veteran Geoffrey Lewis (Maverick, Man Without a Face) plays Abner.
McQuarrie also wrote The Way of the Gun and can be commended for a credible start in a directing career. He does attempt to put new spins on old clichés in his writing, but some elements of Way of the Gun still shot blanks. Filmed in Salt Lake City, Utah this film is rated R for strong violence/gore and language and gets a solid recommendation (*** out of four stars) from this reviewer.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler