MOVIES: The Way of the Gun

This is the Best High Speed Low Drag tactical orientated Movie That You Have Probably Never Seen

I almost passed on buying The Way of the Gun when I first saw it in the PX a while back, I am not a fan of Ryan Phillippe and Juliette Lewis is the most annoying actress in the world.

But because of the cool title and the fact that my-man Benicio del Toro was in it I snatched it off the rack and slammed it in my basket while angrily looking the other way.

All I can say is thank god Benicio was in it because The Way of the Gun ended up becoming my all time favorite crime flick. It was written/directed by Academy Award winning writer Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and was the first and only movie he ever directed.

It has an ensemble cast that centers around the main characters ‘Mr. Parker’ and ‘Mr. Longbaugh’ (who here knows the significance of these names?) who are two clever outlaws looking for the big score.

You may think that would make The Way of the Gun just another a Crime Thriller, but it has several elements that you usually don’t see in action flicks that makes this movie really stand out  – especially if you are into tactical stuff and guns.

Warning: Everything below is a spoiler

no “good guys” – Everyone is a bad guy

One of my biggest problems with action/crime flicks these days is they always have to have at least one character with some sort of redeeming quality. Well not in this movie, every single person is ether straight-up an outlaw or has an agenda that only benefits themselves.

While writing this movie the writer/director said this about developing the characters: “the first thing I did was to write a list of every taboo, everything I knew a cowardly executive would refuse to accept from a ‘sympathetic’ leading man”

I wish more Hollywood writers would do the same, if you think about it the most popular movie characters are always the bad guys.

Tactical Stuff

This is the first thing that caught my eye when I was watching this, in most action or crime flicks you pretty much expect everyone to eventually jump over a car with two Berettas wile screaming “GET SOME!”.

Not in this movie, Parker and Longbaugh work together like highly trained and experienced operators. In the first action scene you see Parker and Longbaugh execute a “peel” (dramatized for film, but still nicely performed) when withdrawing from a Mexican standoff.

You also see them do two man room clearing, use a “bump” (picture above), do a one handed reload while wounded, work together as sniper and spotter, clear a Stove Pipe, do brass checks, use suppressing fire and a bunch of other cool shit that the average viewer would never notice.

They also use tactical gear like side squeeze clip releasable single point slings, dump pouches, nylon duty belts, 3 point shotgun slings, body armor and DeSantis inside the waistband holsters.

After listening to the commentary I found out that the writer/directors brother is a former Navy SEAL (he is the guy they tell to “use the bushes” in the truck stop bathroom scene). Ahhhhh… that pretty much explained it all, he trained up Ryan Phillippe and Benicio del Toro for the film, bought all of the tactical gear and choreographed the action scenes.

Realistic portrayal of Executive Protection Agents (sort of)

The two other main characters are “Jeffers” (Taye Diggs) and “Obecks” (Nicky Katt) who both portray EP Agents. Usually in movies bodyguards are portrayed in a fantastical way (like in ‘The Bodyguard’) completely omitting even basic EP techniques.

They weren’t right on the money with the portrayal of EP Agents, but it is the closest I have ever seen in a movie. Jeffers and Obecks use the ‘wedge’ (a common EP formation), are trained in counter surveillance and generally act like professional EP Agents.

GUNS

The selection of guns in this movie was really well done, each firearm totally matches the characters personality.

The Old School bagmen carry snub nosed revolvers, the EP guys carry H&K USP’s, the sissy doctor has a Walther PPK and the Mexican whorehouse owner packs an old Browning Hi-Power.

And Parker and Longbaugh’s guns… well, that’s the fun part.

Parker and Longbaugh’s Guns:

This is where the directors’ brother really shines again, the guns Parker and Longbaugh use are all logical and down to earth selections. You won’t see tricked out M-4’s or silly machine pistols here – only ‘meat and potatoes’ guns.

You also wont see people fire out 68 rounds without reloading, bravo to the directors’ brother, you did a hot-shit job of selecting guns for this flick.

M1911 Colt Pistols

Parker and Longbaugh both carry the 1911, this isn’t the sexiest handgun out there, but when you watch the movie these guys just seem like the sort who would choose the 1911 over a Glock.

And because they only work together without any sort of back-up, it is just good tactical sense for them to both carry the same gun (also for financial reasons given their limited resources).

Parker also carries a Colt Commander in addition to his full sized 1911, another example of good tactics (having a back up that uses the same magazines as you main sidearm).

They carry their 1911’s in DeSantis IWB holsters cocked and locked. Little details like using inside the waistband holsters with 1911’s on Condition One are some of the things that really make this movie shine for firearm enthusiasts.

The IMI Galil 7.62x51mm NATO

The IMI Galil in 7.62x51mm NATO

The fact they use the 7.62x51mm and not the 5.56x45mm Galil just shows us again the thought the directors’ brother put into selecting guns this film.

Parker and Longbaugh use the Galil as a dual purpose weapon (probably due to financial reasons) – as a sniper system and as a primary weapon. So choosing a 7.62x51mm Galil makes sense, especially for a 2 man team that has to choose only one rifle.

The shoot-out where Longbaugh is sniping dudes out using the Galil while Parker is spotting for him is one of my favorite scenes in the movie. When watching that scene note how the report comes after the bullet impact.

Remington 870

The directors’ brother choosing the 870 is another weapon choice that makes sense when you consider the characters background. Parker and Longbaugh both use the 870 but it seems to be the preferred choice for Parker (with a 3-point sling).

In the first shoot out you see Longbaugh clear a stove pipe and then continue to return fire, I thought that was a nice touch.

The best opening scene in a movie ever, period.

This is the one thing I wont ruin for you just in case you haven’t seen this movie yet – because it is so awesome. Sarah Silverman is way funny, her role couldn’t have been played by another actress.

I watch this scene whenever I feel sad as a ‘pick me up’

In conclusion…

I could literally go on for 20 pages about all the little things that made this such a great movie for guys like us. But in the interest of keeping the article at a reasonable length I forced myself to cut it short.

I also used some terms that not everyone here will understand, that is usually a big no-no when writing articles (for all the authors here). But I didn’t want to have huge chunks of text in-between parentheses explaining everything.

So if you don’t understand a term used in this article please feel free to ask about it in the comments.

Man I love this flick, I am going to watch it again right now.

The Way of the Gun at Amazon.com >>>

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~James G
Founder – Editor in Chief

James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and watching The Way of the Gun over and over again.

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58 thoughts on “MOVIES: The Way of the Gun”

  1. Welcome to the “TWOTG” fan club. We are a loyal, if select, group. I, too, watch the opening scene of this flick when I want or need a good laugh. It never fails to satisfy.

    Let me summarize this, best damn opening scene ever, best chase scene, best one liners throughout, best (most interesting) characters with great underplayed acting, and best shoot out scene.

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  2. Yep – that was a great chase scene

    Pretty much everything about this movie was great – it actually gets better every time you watch it because you start picking up on the little things

    Like in the first shoot-out, in the background you see a dead woman with a guy crying over her in a car way in the background.

    Stuff like that even makes it more realistic – if 6 guys are having an all out shoot-out in a parking lot in the downtown business district of a big city a bystander is bound to get shot.

    ~James G

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  3. The scene where Phillipe jumps into the old fountain that everyone has been breaking bottles in is classic. I did the same thing once in a barfight that turned into a samurai and cowboy showdown. I think I’m still pulling bits of glass out of my back from time to time.

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  4. The scene where Phillipe jumps into the old fountain that everyone has been breaking bottles in is classic.

    In most Action Movies the leads only get hurt doing something heroic. I like how the director had him get hurt because he made a mistake, that just added to the realism.

    samurai and cowboy showdown.

    What?

    ~James G

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  5. One group had knives, the other had guns. Me, my happy little ass jumped into the backroom, slipped on something and fell into the dumpster of empties. Not only did I get cut up, I stunk like old beer all the next day, even after the showers I took.

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  6. James, I sure hope you get a paid for that artcicle, cause you just earned them some money.
    I’m getting that on DVD, great review.

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    1. James, I sure hope you get a paid for that artcicle, cause you just earned them some money.
      I’m getting that on DVD, great review.  

      +1. I’ll pick up a copy today.

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  7. darnit. must… see… this… movie!!! any of you seen the movie Shoot’em Up??? Which among the two is much better?

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  8. Great review pretty good movie though after reading the review I still noticed a few Hollywood moments but nevertheless it is probably the most realistic movie Ive seen in terms of firearms, you wont see a guy shoot 90-100 rounds before a reload but you will see 40-50 but that’s nitpicking.If you’re in a mood for a good action movie or a crime movie go watch this one.

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  9. Way of the Gun is the shiznit of classic crime and gun films!!!

    …and my boy, James Caan rules!!!

    This film is in a class of its own.

    Bubba M.

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  10. Ok I have been avoiding this movie for a long time, mostly because of Ryan Phillipee. But after your review I think I am going to have to check this out.

    I too have had a couple bad times seeking cover. I was training with a bunch of guys down in AZ. We were doing force on force out in the desert. They were familiar with the area, I wasn’t. Their flank was exposed, couldn’t figure out why no one was taking it, decided to make a run for it, drew fire jumped for cover and right into a bunch of cacti. OUCHY! The ER doc said I had the great distinction of having the most cactus needles yanked out of me that he had ever seen. Lesson learned.

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  11. Oh and shoot em’ up was ridiculous. But it kind of worked if you check your knowledge of gunfights, ballistics etc, at the door. You want another realistic gun movie with chases, (if not the best chase) proper gun fights and EP work. Take a look at Ronin. For me it is the best movie Robert DeNiro has ever done.

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  12. James, I sure hope you get a paid for that artcicle, cause you just earned them some money.I’m getting that on DVD, great review.

    Ha, I wish – but if you use the link at the bottom of the Article to buy it from Amazon.com we will get like .20 cents – We are putting it into the beer fund

    ~James G

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  13. Great review pretty good movie though after reading the review I still noticed a few Hollywood moments but nevertheless it is probably the most realistic movie Ive seen in terms of firearms, you wont see a guy shoot 90-100 rounds before a reload but you will see 40-50 but that’s nitpicking.

    If you count the rounds fired in-between the mag changes you will see only 1 time where someone fires a couple of extra rounds than the mag holds. For Hollywood only 1 mag capacity mistake is damn good.

    But you do point out another thing about accuracy in this movie – it is one of the only movies where they show people reloading almost as much as shooting

    Thanks for the comment man

    Ok I have been avoiding this movie for a long time, mostly because of Ryan Phillipee.

    I feel you on the Ryan Phillipee thing dude – but he totally congers up some Jack Nicolson mo-jo in this movie and played the part of an outlaw convincingly

    Their flank was exposed, couldn’t figure out why no one was taking it, decided to make a run for it, drew fire jumped for cover and right into a bunch of cacti. OUCHY! The ER doc said I had the great distinction of having the most cactus needles yanked out of me that he had ever seen. Lesson learned

    Yep, “Never jump over a blind spot without looking to see what is on the other side”

    I can’t remember what instructor told me this (long time ago back when I was starting out) but it has always stuck with me. I don’t hear many tactical instructors give simple ‘one-line’ advice like that these days.

    ~James G

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  14. “…the main characters ‘Mr. Parker’ and ‘Mr. Longbaugh’ (who here knows the significance of these names?) ”

    Butch and Sundance – What do I win? :)

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    1. Ha – you got it!

      You win the admiration of your fellow DVM readers as the smartest guy this week

      ~James G

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      1. Bonus!!!

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  15. Yep, “Never jump over a blind spot without looking to see what is on the other side”I can’t remember what instructor told me this (long time ago back when I was starting out) but it has always stuck with me. I don’t hear many tactical instructors give simple ‘one-line’ advice like that these days.
    ~James G  

    Yea that is one of those lessons you only have to learn once. I agree with the lack of one line KISS rules by some of the instructors I have had. Like my favorite that I tell guys. “Watch for clothes lines while chasing people through backyards”.

    Oh and I have movie rented for tonight.

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  16. I have never seen it. I’ve heard of it though. I am dropping off The Men who Stare at Goats at Block Buster and they had better have way of the gun.

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  17. “Watch for clothes lines while chasing people through backyards”

    Or: “watch out for steel wire fence posts when chasing someone in the inner city because it is invisible at night”

    I tripped over one (similar to the picture below) wile chasing someone down in downtown Richmond Va and literally knocked myself out cold from the impact.

    My last thoughts were “What the hell did Andy (the other guy with me) just jump over, I don’t see anyt…”

    I have never seen it. I’ve heard of it though. I am dropping off The Men who Stare at Goats at Block Buster and they had better have way of the gun.

    Cool, you will thank me later

    ~James G

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  18. One of my favorites as well. The weapons and techniques are amazingly well done.

    Have you checked out Spartan with Val Kilmer?Another good one.

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    1. Man you are like the 20th guy to tell me to watch “Spartan” – It must be a fucking bad-ass flick or something

      I will download now

      ~James G

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  19. Best opening scene for an action flick ever. Hands down….

    “Honey honey. She’s got a big mouth but she’s not kidding. I’m gonna whip you silly and I’m gonna fuck you stupid. You wanna do the man dance? First dance is yours.”

    What did you think about the scene with Tom Cruise in collateral when he smokes the two dudes that steal his shit from Jamie Foxx (when he’s handcuffed to the steering wheel)? I rewound that one about 30 times to watch it over and over again. The rest of the movie… not so hot. That one scene… pretty rad.

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    1. I didn’t catch ‘Collateral’ – Ever sense he freaked out on Oprah and that weird religious video surfaced I just cant take Tom Cruise seriously

      ~James G

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  20. I didn’t catch ‘Collateral’ – Ever sense he freaked out on Oprah and that weird religious video surfaced I just cant take Tom Cruise seriously
    ~James G  

    I’d check it out… at least that one scene…. oh wait… just check it here.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCA2ZNDa-hQ

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  21. Thanks James. That was a great movie. And Philipee actually did a decent job. Makes me wonder why the rest of his movies suck.

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  22. If the acting and movie sucks the two people to blame are the Writer and Director

    ~James G

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    1. If the acting and movie sucks the two people to blame are the Writer and Director
      ~James G  

      Exactly. Actors say what the Writer writes, and do what the Director says. They deserve less blame for good the bad stuff and less credit for the good stuff than they usually get. They are like pawns on a chessboard.

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  23. I have never seen it, but I will have to snatch it off the rack and slam it in the basket while angrily looking the other way soon.

    Fucking hilarious, or maybe a little wierd if you didnt first read the douchebag article.LOL

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    1. Ha! I didn’t know if anyone would “get” that joke

      ~James G

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  24. Watching this now with a glass of scotch and cigar – man I fucking love this flick

    ~James G

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  25. That settles it. I’m watching it again tonight. Rock on.

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  26. That movie was fucking great. The opening scene was epic.

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  27. Parker and Longbaugh that’s easy, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

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    1. Thanks man, but too late, take a look above, another guy beat ya

      ~James G

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  28. two thoughts – my quota for the day –

    One. The reason I never bought this flick was that I detest Benito for choosing to play that gutless commie p.o.s., Che Guevara – but with you being so blown away by it, I’ll grab it next time I see it.

    Two. Tom Cruise – not a great fan but I did greatly enjoy the choreography of The Last Samurai, and the scene in which he sliced and diced the assassins in real time then realized in slow-mo / flashback what had just happened… whoever did that scene has been in serious close combat… don’t think I have ever seen that phenomenon in a movie, but the realism of the way that the mind functions in such a situation, the details vanishing, only coming back as a memory in the later moments… too good.

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  29. The Last Samurai was a good flick, one of the ones before Tom fell off the deep end

    ~James G

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  30. Good movie. Sarah Silverman is a b$tch, I’d love to punch her as well.

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  31. Good movie. Sarah Silverman is a b$tch, I’d love to punch her as well.  

    Especially if she called you a babyhead fucker.

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  32. Ever since I saw this flick I must have used the “babyhead fucker” line a thousand times

    ~James G

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  33. Parker & Longbaugh are Butch Cassidy & Sundance. This is a great film, although if it were filmed today, they would have put one of those multicam shooter caps on Parkers character, & you would never watch it.

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  34. Oops, someone beat me to it. Sorry.

    Parker & Longbaugh are Butch Cassidy & Sundance. This is a great film, although if it were filmed today, they would have put one of those multicam shooter caps on Parkers character, & you would never watch it.  

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  35. Surprised that nobody mentioned the bank shoot-out from Heat, IMO the best action film choreography I’ve ever seen. And yes they do recharge quite a bit and not everybody gets away. The only thing missing were sleepers that stay slightly behind and start shooting if the police or some heroes stand up. That is at least how they do cash-in transit heists down here in South Africa.

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  36. Heat was a great flick, on my all time great crime movie list

    ~James G

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  37. Dude cool website and great review for the movie, it reminded me I need to watch it again. Reference the accuracy of the weapons/manipulations etc., they also had Scott Reitz from ITTS help train the actors/maybe advise on the film. Reitz talks a bit about it in one of his newsletters (January 2008 mixed into a bit about “training actors”) so that mixed with the writer/director’s SEAL brother seems to have made for a good formula.

    -Sean M

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  38. I’m not a big fan of Tom Cruise, even before he went totally wacko. I think there a good movies with him in them (including, but not limited to, The Last Samurai, Vanillia Sky, Top Gun, Minority Report, Born on the Fourth of July, and Valkyrie) but I think that they are good movies despite the fact that he is in them and wonder how much better they would have been with a decent male lead.

    Way of the Gun is an old favourite though and I’ll be watching it again ow that you’ve reminded me of it.

    Cheers,
    Terry

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  39. Re-watching it right now and this is really is an awesome action movie. It also reminds me a lot of “No Country For Old Men” by the Coen brothers.

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  40. I also have to give it up for “Ronin.”

    One more thing on the realism front. In addition to overly fat (and old) actors playing military roles, the driving scenes in movies are typically completely out of touch with reality. They either show sped-up film, split-shot jumps, or confusingly bizarre reactions from everyone on the road.

    Ronin was one of the last films by the director John Frankenheimer, who was famous for many things, but for me it’s all about the driving. All of his films include amazing driving scenes, all of which are filmed in real-time, real speed. If you’ve been in a car in “tense” situations, you can appreciate the skill of a great driver, and Ronin has got that in spades. There’s a scene early in the movie with an Audi tearing through Eastern Europe at full speed that is just insane to watch… Frankenheimer had a former F1 driver do the scene, which is rare to say the least.

    Chris McQuarrie is a great guy… I’ve met him a few times and his career started with the first movie he wrote… “The Usual Suspects,” which, if you’ve watched it, has to be one of the best screenplays ever written.

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    1. You have met Chris McQuarrie ?

      ~James G

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      1. Yes, he’s a friend of a friend and comes to Florida every once in a while with his family. Excellent guy, hot southern wife, nice kids and your comments on his brother are correct. He had some excellent stories about the research that went into his last flick “Valkyrie.” They met one of Hitler’s bodyguards and let’s just say the bodyguard didn’t think Hitler was such a bad guy.

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  41. Cool dude, bad ass

    Let him know we hear at DVM love his flicks

    ~James G

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    1. I’ll point him to your article on The Way of the Gun. He’ll be psyched you guys notice all the details…

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  42. Watching this for the first time right now. Pretty good movie,and
    the gunplay is spectacular. With that said, a 12GA to the crotch
    seemed a bit much!

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  43. “You never shoot someone in the Dick”

    Eric Theodore Cartman

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  44. James I dont know if this was brought up in the comments yet but did you notice that during the hospital standoff one of the EP guys has the muzzle of his USP aimed at the prego with his finger on the trigger?

    other then this film is pretty solid so far

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  45. Good catch, ScotiaShooter.

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  46. Way of the gun is one of my top ten,
    Spartan is in the top five along with Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang.
    Val makes two kinds of movies, Great and suck, nothing in between
    I’m your Huckleberry, greatest line ever!

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  47. Oh and shoot em’ up was ridiculous. But it kind of worked if you check your knowledge of gunfights, ballistics etc, at the door. You want another realistic gun movie with chases, (if not the best chase) proper gun fights and EP work. Take a look at Ronin. For me it is the best movie Robert DeNiro has ever done.  

    I agree with everything you said there. Though “The Untouchables” was really good too.

    Haven’t seen this movie “Way of The Gun” for some reason, I thought this was supposed to be an anti gun movie.

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