Mar 27, 2014

Review: Gunshy (1998)

I'd say that at first glance, Gunshy looks like a promising, well-casted crime movie. Pretty quickly though, I realized I was wrong. William Peterson's character Jake Bridges loses his job, his woman and he feels like he's lost everything. He takes up drinking very heavily. Poor him. He goes to Atlantic City. Despite all this early negativity, I did like the use of an aerial shot on a helicopter to give Jake the appearance of being very small and lonely. There was some effort there.

Enter bar scene with a sexist, mean guy played by Meat Loaf which is remarkable in the sense that even with such a short appearance, it's still possible to give an awful performance. It's a laughably bad scene, but as I said, thankfully short. We then meet Frankie McGregor who drags a willing Jake Bridges into his world of crime.

Through Frankie, Jake meets Melissa, played by Diane Lane. Well it's pretty clear within the first 15 minutes that we're going to have a love triangle and that is precisely what happens. Diane Lane does adequate work, but she is fed her fair share of awkward dialogue. For the most part, it's Peterson who's saddled with the worst luck though.

Jake and Frankie have these moments that they're supposed to be bonding and growing as friends but it just comes off as shallow. Herman Melville's Moby Dick is used to illustrate important life lessons but it just gets tiresome and doesn't serve a real purpose.

One thing that stands out in Gunshy is how cardboard some of the minor characters are. We get yet another misogynist hitting on a woman in a bar but good old Jake is there to help her out as well. For some more lack of effort, there's a poorly done car chase that ends before it begins. Inexplicable explosions are included as well. 

I do like finding the good in bad movies so one more thing about Gunshy that I liked was a certain scene that was shot in a peep show bathroom. Jake is being confronted by a cop and for some shots, it's shown in the mirror on the wall. It's a nice little touch to just add to the dinginess of the locale. It just goes to show the unevenness of effort into making Gunshy. With a cast like it has, it looks like it could be a credible crime movie but it doesn't pull it off. 


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