The effectiveness, style, and impact of a gunfight scene can often be the make-or-break of action films. Fans want clever bullet-ridden choreography, punchy weapons, and a brilliant soundtrack (or lack thereof) to go with it; so, in showing appreciation to those cinematic firefights that deliver the best booms, here are out top 6 movie shootouts:
Equilibrium (gun-kata scene)
While it’s uncertain whether director Kurt Wimmer will ever make a movie as cool as Equilibrium again (his next film, Ultraviolet, was absolutely horrendous), the incredible gunfights in the film will definitely serve as a career highlight. Christian Bale plays John Preston, a Grammaton Cleric whose job it is to gun down people for showing emotion. So when he starts showing some of his own while protecting a puppy, his guns get turned on the people doing the enforcing. The film invented its own gun martial art called Gun-Kata and, while it’s quite ridiculous, it’s amazing to watch.
Wanted (factory run scene)
While some fans were mixed with their reception of 2008’s Wanted, the end shootout is undeniably badass. James McAvoy’s character Wesley bursts into a warehouse and completely annihilates everyone in the vicinity while running in a full-on sprint. The most awesome part involves him continuously shooting through a guy’s head. It’s brutal, fast-paced, and took the already-intense tone of the movie up ten notches.
Last Man Standing (bar shootout scene)
Bruce Willis is at his most bad-ass in Walter Hill’s underrated shoot-em-up Last Man Standing. Willis has had his fair share of gunfights throughout his career but rarely have they looked as stylish as they do here. Bruce picks up the dual pistols (as it was quite fashionable to do so in the mid-nineties) and lays twin-fisted waste to a gang of Irish-American bootleggers.
The Boondock Saints (street shootout scene)
The Boondock Saints could almost be considered one giant shootout. The 1999 film is bullet-riddled with some great gunfights throughout, but there’s one clear moment that stands out above the rest. As vigilante brothers Connor and Murphy MacManus, along with their tag-along friend, leave the scene of a crime, they’re met by Billy Connolly’s character The Duke (who turns out to be the boys’ father). An epic firefight ensues along with some church hymns in the background. What makes it even greater is Willem Defoe’s over-dramatic interpretation of what he suspects happened.
Heat (bank robbery run scene)
Possibly one of the most brutal, over the top , and arguably unnecessary gunfights in movie history is the street shootout following a failed getaway after a bank robbery in Heat. What proceeds is a city-wide firefight with automatic weapons, a massive bodycount, and some of the most potent sound editing you’ll hear in a film.
The Matrix (lobby scene)
What’s a gunfight scene countdown without the famous lobby scene from The Matrix? The Wachowskis’ 1999 sci-fi masterpiece was a giant leap in CGI and storytelling in the genre, but this particular scene stripped away the overuse of CGI and focused on a gravity-defying gun battle between Neo and Trinity, and the police, using practical effects to deliver the awe. Stellar choreography, slow-motion, and some great wire-work led to something quite special that has strongly influenced not only film, but popular culture today.