2012 Shootout of the Year Nominees

They say real men fight with their hands.  Fuck that!  In modern action films the weapon of choice is the firearm and the five films nominated for the shootout of the year all show that scenes can be just as exciting when bullets fly as when blows are thrown.

  •  Plantation House Shootout – Django Unchained: Quentin Tarentino builds a certain degree of tension through the second half of Django Unchained until it finally turns into a full-on Tarentino Mexican standoff.  Finally everything explodes in an orgy of bloody violence as Django tries to shoot his way out of the Candieland plantation.  Though he’s eventually cornered and captured, he certainly doesn’t go out without a hell of a fight.
  • Ending – End of Watch: The fact that End of Watch ends with a shootout is a big part of why it’s a stupid movie, but I’m not going to hold that against it because in a vacuum this is a pretty interesting scene.  The scene involves two cops trying to escape an ambush even though they’re outnumbered and out gunned.  David Ayers does a pretty good job of conveying the cops desperation and uses a couple of interesting visual tricks throughout.
  • The June Rebellion – Les Misérables: Les Misérables starts to get kind of boring in its second half, but there’s a jolt of excitement when a little bit of revolution finally pops off.  Using old-school firearms like muskets and cannons, this streetfight between the French military and a group of rebellious students manages to be a pretty exciting battle scene that lives up to the production values of the film it’s in.
  • Shot Car/Trench Drug War – Miss Bala: This short but effective scene from the little seen Mexican thriller Miss Bala makes the phrase “drug war” seem frighteningly literal.  The scene begins with our protagonists in a car that gets shot up and as she escapes the film begins a single long shot in which we see cartel members using a bunch of cars as cover while the shoot at some unseen enemy in the distance.  It looks more like something out of a WWI trench than something out of a street fight.
  • Abbottabad Raid – Zero Dark Thirty: There isn’t really all that much shooting in this shootout, in fact I strongly considered classifying it as a set-piece rather than an actual shootout, but in the end it just felt a little more natural here.  The reason there aren’t a ton of bullets flying is that the people with the guns are incredibly effective at their jobs, the enemy hardly gets a shot off because they’re quickly neutralized by SEAL team six pretty much the second they show up.

And the Golden Stake goes to…


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