2015 Shootout of the Year Nominees

The shootout category is where largish gunfights belong.  These scenes are a staple of action cinema but for whatever reason this category is never really a filled up as the other two action categories.  Michael Mann’s movie was shockingly anemic this year so there wasn’t a lot in the way of traditional ballistic action, fortunately there were some non-traditional options to fill some of the gaps.

  • Final Rescue- ’71: ’71 is a highly underappreciated British film about the height of “The Troubles” which works shockingly well as a visceral action film despite its deadly serious subject matter.  The film ends with a small but interesting shootout where the film’s protagonist has been captured and troops are moving into a hideout to save him.  The shootout is partly interesting in that it isn’t terribly clear to anyone involved who’s a friend and who’s an enemy with some tragic results.
  • Shootout with Arikaras- The Revenant: Qualifying this scene as a shootout is a little tricky in that one side is using bows and arrows, but those are still projectile weapons and I think it counts.  This scene depicts a sneak attack by a group of Native Americans and the ambush nature of the attack is front and center.  It begins with people being hit with arrows they didn’t see coming and proceeds in a chaotic manner with Di Caprio’s character being one of the few white people prepared for this kind of combat.
  • Border Crossing- Sicario: I hesitated about even including this scene because the shooting in it is rather one sided.  In fact the scene is characterized more by tension than by actual shooting but it is a memorable scene just the same.  It features a standoff in which the DEA taskforce at the film’s center is stalled on a busy highway and believes they’re in a lot of danger.  Soon they identify the cars which are a threat and after a short standoff the cartel men are dead and our heroine finds herself defending herself from a related ambush.
  • Final Shootout- Slow West: Slow West is a movie that feels decidedly different from your average western but it’s not particularly easy to put a finger on why.  Similarly, this shootout feels different from your average climactic western shootout but for reasons that aren’t terribly clear.  The shootout features bounty hunters laying siege to a cottage in the middle of a wheat field, pretty typical, but our heroes are neither the invaders nor the besieged so much as a couple of confused outsiders who seem to have stumbled into someone else’s movie.
  • Takodana Battle- Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens: This mid-film action scene from The Force Awakens depicts a large scale shootout between The First Order and The Resistance and has a handful of mini-dramas throughout like Finn giving lightsaber fighting a whirl and Han Solo coming to realize why Chewbaca is so fond of the Bowcaster as a firearm of choice.  It finally ends with X-wings intervening, by which point it’s clear that the First Order is one hell of a threat.

And the Golden Stake Goes To…