Blame it on the superheroes, but shootouts just aren’t as common in action movies as they used to be. In fact, whenever we do see a good gunfight it almost seems jarring, like some kind of old-school throwback. Still, I was able to find five gunfights that got the blood pumping and kept this violent tradition alive. This year there seems to have been a trend of good gunfights in not-so-great movies, but I’m not going to hold overall film quality against any individual scenes.
- Shuttle Assault – Elysium: Neill Blomkamp is in some ways the first of a generation of post Playstation action filmmakers, and this has given him an appreciation for imaginative weaponry. This scene in which Matt Damon is attacked by androids after launching an assault on a shuttle is not the best edited or shot shootout of the year, but its elevated by some cool weapons that seem like hybridized version of modern weapons like AK-47.
- Hotel Shootout – Gangster Squad: In a post-Aurora and post-Sandy Hook world the movie Gangster Squad was heavily criticized for the amount of gun violence it had. Personally, I’d argue that gun violence was actually the only half-way decent thing about the movie. This scene depicts a massive shootout between cops and gangsters both outside and inside of a hotel that’s been decorated for Christmas. Needless to say, the Tommy guns wreck the hell out of those decorations.
- The Last Stand – The Last Stand: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to the screen wasn’t brilliant, but I had fun with it and think it deserved better than it got. This scene, which plays on the trope of the showdown on Main Street is filled with a lot of little bits of oddball violence like a man being exploded by his own bandolier and an elderly woman shooting a bad guy in the head. It’s a scene that successfully combines traditional action with Kim Ji-woon’s unhinged sense of comedy.
- Boathouse Shootout – Mud: Mud is the only movie here that wouldn’t be considered an action film, in fact it’s not really a movie you expect to see end with a shootout, but it does and it’s a good one. The scene features a number of criminals trying to break into a houseboat, but they find themselves thwarted by both the people in the houseboat and by a man on the other side of the river shooting at them with a sniper rifle. The distances involved and the geography that’s been established really make the scene unique.
- White House Siege – Olympus Has Fallen: The film Olympus Has Fallen envisions a massive attack on the White House carried out by a North Korean paramilitary organization that charges the rose garden in a sneak attack. These bandana wearing terrorists mow down secret service agents and on duty, leaving Gerard Butler to as a lone agent going in behind them. The fight finally spills into the White House as dozens if not hundreds are killed, pretty much everybody except the lone agent who must save the day/