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Film Review: Gutshot Straight

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★★☆☆☆

When I was given the chance to review Gutshot Straight, a movie that had Steven Seagal, Vinnie Jones and explosions on the front cover, I thought it might be some stupid action fun. Boy I was wrong.

This movie starts with our main character, Jack, visiting Vinnie Jones and Steven Seagal. Enjoy them folks, because this minute long appearance is their longest of the film. Genuinely they have, like, five minutes between them. That’s not what you’d think if you looked at the poster.

Immediately following this scene, we have a music video style opening credits.You know, like James Bond. In fact a LOT like James Bond. It has the same style of special effects, the same games of women and bullets, the same style of ballad being sung. Did they really think that James Bond was the franchise to attempt to try and steal parts from without being noticed? I mean it’s not like there’s been many Bond movies.

After spending four minutes tricking you that you’re watching a different movie, we are disappointingly dumped back into the real film. We see Jack in a casino, gambling, chatting and generally attempting to be George Clooney from Ocean’s 11. He also meets a character who is obviously the villain. I mean he wears Aviators indoors and talks only in whispered riddles. He’s the bad guy people. Well, Bad Guy tells Jack to come to his house.

Eventually, Jack gives Bad Guy a call and they meet in a strip club. Why? So we can see tits. This scene exists purely so the film can have tits in. It might even be the longest scene of the movie. I think each stripper’s top half has more screen time than Segal and Jones put together.

Afterwards they go to Bad Guy’s house, where he offers Jack $50,000 to sleep with Bad Guy’s daughter in front of him. And actually, this is a really good scene. I mean, sure it’s completely out of tone with the rest of the movie, but that isn’t the scene’s fault. If this scene was in a good movie, rather than this one, this scene would have recieved a lot of credit. It’s well shot, with an eerie tension and some pretty decent acting.

And boy did the makers of this film know it. Throughout the rest of the movie we are bombarded with flashbacks of this same scene. I mean, flashbacks are one thing. But six flashbacks, in six different scenes. Jesus, is the whole second half of the film just a highlight reel of the first half? In fact, reshowing its good parts is a problem this movie has in general.

For instance, in the first casino scene Jack tells an anecdote about meeting a killer in prison. It’s quite funny, and works as a short joke. But he then follows it up with four tag on parts, retelling the punchline over and over. You could argue this is just Jack’s character, but he doesn’t show that desperation elsewhere. I genuinely think the film’s writers just wanted to point out that they told an okay joke.

The rest of the movie is basically Jack trying to get away with having murdered this guy. Well, that and flashbacks of course.

In the end Steven Seagal and Vinnie Jones use their second minute of screen time to save the day, Jack and the Bad Guy’s daughter fall in love and they live happily ever after. Yes, Jack and the daughter could have been together anyway, without having to murder someone. They’d even have got $50,000 for it. But hey, then they wouldn’t have been able to waste an hour and a half of my life.

This film is a weird grab bag of stuff. In fact, it’s really hard to work out what this film is.

It has plenty of casino shots and a couple of poker scenes. Enough that you might think it’s Ocean 11.You know, just without George Clooney, Brad Pitt, wit, charm or suspense. But it isn’t. None of the poker scenes seem to matter that much to the plot.

Okay, but it has Steven Seagal and in, it must be an action movie. Well, no. There’s two fight scenes and they’re just people scuffling.

Fine, it has Vinnie Jones. It must be a crime film then? Well, kind of. But nothing about the crime world is explored or even just explained enough to give the movie some real stakes.

What this movie mostly is, is talking. Just talking. Jack and Segul talk at the beginning. Jack and Bad Guy talk at a casino. Jack talks round a poker table. And that talking is BORING.

It’s all meant to be gritty and suspenseful, but in the most stereotypical way. Heads up guys, dialogue only helps build suspense when it doesn’t sound you wrote all of it specifically as soundbites for the trailer.

I dunno, the movie isn’t terrible. Only a few of the scenes are terrible. Lots of them are bad, most of them are mediocre and one is brilliant. Plus the film is a mercifully short 85 minutes. But the film is just boring.

At least if it had been a dumb action romp with Seagal and Jones it could have been fun. This movie wants to be more than that. In fact, it’s much less.




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