Shooters tend to like action movies, but having some knowledge of firearms and tactics, we cringe when we see actors fire 17 rounds from a snubnose revolver, sweep the other actors on screen with their firearm, or do any number of other stupid, unrealistic, or unsafe things on camera. Luckily, many people are making a living in Hollywood these days as “technical advisors”, and the gun handling in TV and movies is getting a lot better. Once you go back a few years, however, finding movies that have good scripts, acting, and realistic use or depiction of firearms onscreen can be a bit vexing. In what I plan to be the first of irregular posts on the subject, here are five action movies that, for one reason or another, you’ve probably never seen, but that I recommend. In no particular order:
Directed by Hollywood legend Sidney Pollack, this film is an action movie as well as a cultural study and a character piece. It was written by Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver) and Robert Towne (Chinatown)—how’s that for credentials? It stars Robert Mitchum as former private eye Harry Kilmer, who during the war was stationed in Japan, and comes back to help out a friend (Brian Keith) whose daughter was kidnapped. Takakura Ken (who you might recognize from the Ridley Scott/Michael Douglas movie Black Rain) plays a former Yakuza soldier who helps out Harry. Known as the Clint Eastwood of Japan, Takakura grew up watching real yakuza turf wars in his hometown, and somewhere along the way learned some serious swordfighting skills. While there are several excellent action scenes in this well acted move, the climax is awesome. Mitchum, with a 1911 in one hand and a double-barrel shotgun in the other, and Takakura with a katana, take on about two dozen yakuza soldiers inside a house in a dirty and brutal ballet of violence.