Thursday, 17 July 2008

Mean Guns (Uncut)


Directed by: Albert Pyun
Screenplay: Andrew Witham
Starring: Christopher Lambert, Ice-T & Michael Halsey

A bucket full of fun, Mean Guns is a deliciously nasty, violent, action hoot that still stands as one of Albert Pyun’s greatest achievements. Foul mouthed, blacker than black chuckles and a mean body count, Mean Guns slices a huge grin into your face as its characters seek redemption through blasting the hell out of one another. The wicked mambo sound track is ace too.

A collection of the nastiest, cruellest, most violent criminals who work for an organization known as The Society converge on a deserted prison at the order of Moon (Ice-T). He offers them a stake in a $10 million pot on condition they be one of the last three standing. Locked inside the prison, given a time limit and a large cache of weapons, the crims set about destroying one another in increasingly violent ways. Alliances are formed and broken and bullets well and truly dispensed.

A sheer blast of fun, Mean Guns (here reviewed from the uncut print seen in all its anamorphic splendour on the big screen) never apologizes for being foul and filthy. Style is matched with action, Pyun going for a quirky mood that matches the absurdness on screen, backed up by George Mooradian’s fast moving camerawork. Comic book and ultra violent in tone, the cast play full tilt with Christopher Lambert on devilishly good form, Ice-T surprisingly good and Michael Halsey oozing menace. There is even a great comedy duo in Thom Matthews and Yuji Okumoto who fire off as many one liners as they do rounds. Their discussion about the number of people they have killed is comedy gold.

Pyun orchestrates some of his best action here. Never topping Nemesis or Kickboxer 2 (Pyun’s other action classics) in terms of slickness or brutality, the action in Mean Guns is nevertheless cool, a buoyant mix of gunplay, baseball bat fights and folks getting their heads set on fire. The end shootout, Lambert’s run across some tables brandishing two guns and all those baseball bat brawls are the highlights. This is all set to one of the best soundtracks ever. Mambo music plays out over the whole thing and works surprisingly well, giving the film a unique vibe all of its own. You will be humming it for ages afterwards.

A mini B-movie classic that screams out for a proper no-holds-barred gun blazing sequel, Mean Guns is one of Pyun’s best. Seek out the American Region 1 DVD version as it contains all the violence/action/baseball bat stuff that was cut out of the truncated British version.

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