Release Date: May 21st, 1993 (Hungary)
Directed by: Deran Sarafian
Written by: Stephen Sommers
Music by: John Debney
Cast: Christopher Lambert, Mario Van Peebles, Denis Leary, Patrick Stewart, Kadeem Hardison, Sally Kirkland, Big Daddy Kane, Kid Frost, Rakim, Eric B., Doctor Dré, Ed Lover, Brenda Bakke
Davis Entertainment, Gary Gunmen Productions, Dimension Films, 91 Minutes
“Put the gun down? Put the gun down? I’m gonna put the gun down your fuckin’ throat!” – Dani Servigo
Gunmen is one of those ’90s action films that probably should have been a straight-to-video release but actually got a brief theatrical run. It wasn’t successful and sort of just came and went very quickly. While it’s not a very good movie, it is still decent and has a pretty solid early ’90s cast. Plus, it has cameos from a lot of legitimately good rappers from the era.
This is a buddy movie, where you never know when and if the buddies will turn on each other while seeking out the money they’re on the hunt for. They are also on the run from a drug kingpin’s minions, who also want the money for themselves. The buddies are played by Christopher Lambert and Mario Van Peebles. The drug kingpin is played by Patrick Stewart with his top minion being Denis Leary. Like I said, it’s an interesting and kind of cool cast.
For the most part, the film is fun but it also has a plot that just seems to be all over the place. It’s not well written and if it wasn’t for the charismatic cast, this film would be completely forgettable. It’s also minimal on the action. For something called Gunmen, I expected a movie similar to The Expendables or Predator without the alien or Commando with more than one buff badass.
The film does have a lot of good stunts though. There just wasn’t enough shoot’em up stuff for a film with a title that implies such. In fact, I don’t think Gunmen is an accurate title. And the poster implies a squad of badasses. But alas, we get a duo with a little help from Kadeem Hardison (a.k.a. Dwayne Wayne from A Different World).
I did like the location shooting and the look of the picture was good. It had a grittiness to it and where it was high octane, it really went for the gusto. I just wish it had more of those moments.
The finale was decent but nothing exceptional. The last twenty minutes of the film are the best, so at least it built towards something and delivered.
But ultimately, this is a run-of-the-mill ’90s action flick without a lot of flourish or much of anything to set it apart from the pack. But I really loved Leary and Stewart in this.
Lambert and Van Peebles would go on to co-star together in the third Highlander movie a year later.
Pairs well with: Mean Guns, Posse, Highlander: The Final Dimension, Survivng the Game and Who’s the Man?