Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Vault: "The Way Of The Gun"

This movie came highly recommended to me - and I can't believe I had never heard of it! I mean, come on - it's called "The Way Of The Gun" - the title alone was enough to peak my interest! And so,thanks to the power of Netflix, I got around to watching it for the first time this past weekend.

The story focuses on two low-life criminals. For the sake of anonymity, the men go by Parker (Ryan Phillippe) and Longbaugh (Benicio Del Toro). Eeking their way through life, Parker and Longbaugh plot and scheme to make money. They wind up at a sperm donation center, where they overhear the doctor on the phone discussing a woman who is being paid $1 million to be a surrogate mother. Without saying a word, Parker and Longbaugh look at each in a sort of acknowledgment of their next move: find this woman, kidnap her, and hold her for ransom.

The surrogate mother is Robin (Juliette Lewis), who has been hired by a wealthy man named Hale Chidduck (Scott Wilson), who is obviously too old to impreganate his much-younger wife, Francesca. Parker and Longbaugh learn that Robin's doctor is named Allen Painter (Dylan Kussman) - so the plan is to snatch Robin as she's leaving the doctor's office. However, things prove difficult when Robin's bodyguards are around. Jeffers (Taye Diggs) and Obecks (Nicky Katt) are held at gunpoint in the lobby as Parker and Longbaugh make their move. The two men are met with a handful of Chidduck's bodyguards outside of the building, and as the entryway doors close behind them, we hear a loud burst of gunshots and screams. Jeffers tells Robin to take the elevator to the upper floors to get out of harm's way, but Robin instead waddles her way to the entryway. Parker and Longbaugh are the only ones left standing, and with Robin willingly leaving the safety of her bodyguards, they have their prize. Jeffers and Obecks follow them in their car in a very tense chase scene that only ends with Parker, Longbaugh, and Robin narrowly escaping.

The story gets even more complicated at this point. Back at the Chidduck residence, we learn that Mr. Chidduck borrowed the $1 million from his "employers" without them knowing it. He reveals this information to Dr. Allen Painter, who is actually Mr. Chidduck's son. It is also revealed that Jeffers is having an affair with Francesca - as she's on the couch eating a shrimp cocktail (just like a rich bitch would), Jeffers approaches her and they share a provocative kiss. At this point in the film, we are also introduced to Joe Sarno (played brilliantly by James Caan), the "bagman" who works on behalf of Mr. Chidduck. Joe gets on the phone with Parker to work out the details of the drop: $15 million, brought by Dr. Painter, to the Nacio Madre Motel in Mexico. But things don't go as planned, as Robin holes up in the hotel room with a shotgun and calls the police. Soon, the entire motel parking lot turns into a good old fashioned shootout. Jeffers and Obecks arrive, along with Joe Sarno's fellow bagman buddy Abner, and two Mexican police officers. The point is, Parker and Longbaugh escape - again! - with Robin in tow.

Now, the last 45 minutes of the movie is what really makes it memorable. Basically, Joe Sarno gets a group of 8 to 10 of his senior bagman friends to hunt down Parker and Longbaugh. They're hiding out in a Mexican whorehouse, along with Dr. Painter, who they brought along to perform the delivery. Due to the intense action she's endured, Robin is unable to give birth the old fashioned way, so Dr. Painter is forced give her a friggin' C-section! There's a group of trained hitmen outside with loads and loads of bullets, and Jeffers is en route to finish off Parker and Longbaugh. It's one of the best "last stands" I've ever seen! It seems like it goes on forever, and I was just on the edge of my seat the entire time! I don't want to give away the ending, in case anyone reading this hasn't watched it, but beneath the shootouts and the blood and the bags of money, is a really poignant lesson about the value of family. In addition, the relationship between Parker and Longbaugh is amusing in that up until the whorehouse, they never talk to each other. I wasn't surprised when I found out that writer/director Christopher McQuarrie was also the genius behind "The Usual Suspects." It's no wonder why "The Way Of The Gun" was so enjoyable and thought-provoking.


  1. Happy you enjoyed Way Of The Gun! It is very underrated. Plus the end gunfight was amazing!

  2. I remember the commercials for this back in the day but never bothered to seeing it.


  3. I remember seeing this and being drawn in by the quietness of it all. A very patient film if memory serves. Nice write up.

  4. Happy you enjoyed Way Of The Gun! The climatic gunfight was excellent and very well-made!

  5. The last 45 minutes are awesome, but the rest of the film is a little sluggish, and not so good as a whole, rather than good for a couple of parts here and there. Good Review!

  6. @ Ty: Agreed, the final gunfight was what I was hoping for! So awesome!

    @ Dan O.: It does move a bit slow, but I think you just have to be patient with it...thanks for the kudos!

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