Guns, guns, guns. From Dirty Harry’s .44 Magnum to Han Solo’s blaster pistol, Hollywood loves guns, the bigger and louder the better. Setting aside political arguments about the 2nd Amendment (we’re talking about fiction and fantasy here, folks), this week’s Roundtable takes a look at some of the most iconic guns in cinema.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
Ol’ Painless isn’t just a gun. It’s not some measly little pistol you pull out of a holster, carefully aim and fire. No, Ol’ Painless is a force of nature. It’s unleashed. Though Jesse “The Body” Ventura’s weapon of choice in ‘Predator‘ is technically a mini-gun, there’s nothing “mini” about it. We’re talking about a weapon that’s meant to be mounted on a helicopter. In one of the film’s defining moments, Ventura’s soldier empties somewhere in the neighborhood of five hundred rounds in one fell swoop, mowing down half the jungle in the hopes of nailing the unseen alien that’s been slaughtering his fellow men. The creature wouldn’t go down that easily, but it’s courtesy of Ol’ Painless that Dutch and company learn that, “If it bleeds, we can kill it.”
I have to go with the Lawgiver from ‘Dredd‘. From its distinctive shape and design to its ability to fire multiple types of ammo – including armor-piercing, incendiary, ricocheting bullets and more – the Lawgiver is almost a character unto itself. And what better gun could there be to bring law and order to the unruly citizens of a Mega-City? Other guns may be more iconic, but few are more effective.
There’s nothing particularly special about the 12-gauge double-barrel shotgun Ash uses in the ‘Evil Dead’ movies. In fact, it’s not even the same type of gun used in all three films. (It’s a single-shot shotgun in the original.) However, the gun becomes the stuff of legend in ‘Army of Darkness‘ when Ash uses it to shoot the sword of an approaching knight, then introduces the weapon to the medieval crowd as his “Boomstick.” Get one for yourself; they say it’s S-Mart’s top-of-the-line.
“I wanna introduce you to a personal friend of mine. This is an M41A pulse rifle. Ten millimeter with over-and-under thirty millimeter pump action grenade launcher.” The most iconic gun in cinema is easily the standard issue Colonial Marines rifle from ‘Aliens‘. It’s design defined film and videogame weapons for years to come. Ripley wielded it with style and sex appeal, and any sci-fi fanboy worth his mettle has come to worship the firearm of the future. Heck, using it in the latest, crappy ‘Colonial Marines’ videogame is the only thing that made the game worth playing at all. Well, that and the M56 Smart Gun. Regardless, the pulse rifle has my vote, hands down.
There’s one movie gun that I’m a huge fan of, but most people hate it when they see it. I cannot tell you how many times I heard people say, “That is the stupidest thing ever,” when they saw Rose McGowan’s leg-gun in the trailers for ‘Grindhouse‘. Personally, as if I wasn’t already sold on the film, when I saw the assault rifle mounted to her stumpy leg, my obsession began. Talk about a gun that does it all; it’s an automatic machine gun and it fires shotgun blasts, not to mention propelled grenades. Mount this monster to a hot chick’s leg, let her smoke a whole lot of zombies, and you’ve got one amazing combination. Knowing that McGowan would eventually become a hybrid damsel in distress and weapon, I couldn’t wait for this plot point to come to pass when I screened the movie.
M. Enois Duarte
Since I’m an ‘Evil Dead’ fan, you might think that my first choice would be Ash’s double-barrel shotgun, appropriately named the “Boomstick,” in the second sequel. But no, one of my favorite movie guns comes from longtime guilty pleasure ‘The Fifth Element‘. The ZF-1 is an absurdly ridiculous weapon, but also so damn cool that I almost wish it was real. Demonstrated with lots of flair and drama by Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman), the ultra-light but fully-loaded (in the most literal sense) gun is undetectable and equipped with a titanium recharger, a three-thousand round clip (in “Replay” mode, it sends every following shot to the same location), rocket launcher, arrow launcher with explosive arrowheads, net launcher, flame thrower and, for the grand finale, an all-new ice-cube system. And to top it all off, it’s adjustable for righties and lefties, and the whole thing comes in a neat, egg-shaped carry-on case with a remote control. Only, don’t ever, ever, ever, ever… ever, ever… touch the little red button on the side.
There are so many possibilities for this topic, from Deckard’s cool futuristic pistol in ‘Blade Runner’, to RoboCop’s semi-auto hand cannon, to the motion-activated sentry guns in ‘Aliens’. I hardly know where to begin. I bet that a lot of you assumed that I’d pick the Weirding Modules, didn’t you? But no, as I think about it, only one choice stands out far above the others as the most iconic of iconic movie guns. That would of course be James Bond’s sleek little Walther PPK, first introduced in ‘Dr. No‘ and featured in twenty-something sequels to date. It may not be the deadliest or most powerful weapon on this list, but it has gotten our hero out of plenty of dangerous jams over the years.
This list hardly scratches the surface. Tell us about your favorite movie guns in the Comments below.