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Eleven Mike
December 22, 2006, 05:19 PM
We've had lots of threads about firearms goofs on film, but let me ask about one that I don't remember seeing on those threads.

I think it's called the Mexican stand-off, and it's the biggest mistake Hollywood makes with guns. We've probably all seen the movies or TV shows where the bad guy is pointing a gun at some poor damsel in distress. Then our hero arrives and points his gun at the bad guy. And they stand there and chat.

Or the good guy has the villain at gunpoint, and watches calmly as he pulls his own gun and aims it at the good guy.

Why don't these people fire? I've never been in such a situation, but I can't imagine why I would let someone draw a gun on me, when I've already got them in my own sights. Nor can I conceive of letting some reprobate point a gun at an innocent person while I merely stand there debating whether or not to shoot.

Is this Hollywood dramatic effect, or am I missing something?

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James T Thomas
December 22, 2006, 05:27 PM
Mike:

Thank God I've never been in such a situation, but should it happen, the moment I have him sighted in, I'll begin the squeeze. Albeit a quick one.

I suppose it's done by Hollywood to create tension in the viewer, who is shouting within their mind "shoot, why don't you shoot?"

nplant
December 22, 2006, 05:28 PM
I like this question. One problem I have is when the hostage taker manages to get the good guy to drop his gun. Why? The hostage is the only thing protecting the bad guy. If it were me, I'd sit there and get the most perfect sight picture I possibly could, start building pressure on the trigger, all the while, telling the bad guy that I'm not going to shoot him. Imagine his surprise when that gun goes bang.

Chipperman
December 22, 2006, 05:46 PM
I like where they are arguing for a while, then one will manually cock the hammer. :rolleyes:

Eleven Mike
December 22, 2006, 05:58 PM
I like where they are arguing for a while, then one will manually cock the hammer. On a 1911.

JesseL
December 22, 2006, 06:28 PM
I like where they are arguing for a while, then one will manually cock the hammer.

Or they decide to get serious and rack the slide :what:
What were they doing with an unloaded gun all that time?

Arkie
December 22, 2006, 06:34 PM
I watched one movie a long time ago (I forget what it was called), but everytime he got to a room he would rack the shotgun.

I was thinking if he ever found someone to shoot at he would be out of shells. LOL...

Eleven Mike
December 22, 2006, 06:38 PM
You mean he was clearing a building and worked the slide at every doorway? That is sad. You'd think the director or actor or someone would think to ask what that slidey-thing was for.

Arkie
December 22, 2006, 06:41 PM
Yep, that's what he was doing! It was a warehouse so there was a lot of room in between doors.

GRIZ22
December 22, 2006, 06:57 PM
One of my favorites is Clint Eastwood in "Pale Rider". The bad guys empty their guns through the cafe window figuring they'll hit "Preacher". They go in to the cafe and when Clint comes from the back and asks them if they're looking for him. He waits until the first guy gets his gun reloaded and then shoots them all (at least the first one in the forehead).

Maybe not quite the same thing as the rest of you guys are talking about but it dramatically reinforced Clint's image as the tough gunfighter.

James T Thomas
December 22, 2006, 07:50 PM
"Tuco Juan Domingo Pacifico Ramirez"; otherwise known as the 'Rat' said it said it best while he was soaking in a bubble bath: "If you're going to talk -talk, if you're going to shoot -shoot!

Mr White
December 22, 2006, 07:51 PM
I'd have to agree with the dramatic license answer. It provides a good mechanism to allow the GG and the BG to air their differences and build tension to the big fight.

I always thought it was pretty stupid too, that every second they stand there gives the BG one more chance to squeeze the trigger.

Costner got it right in "Open Range"... You the one who shot my friend? Bang. No questions, no drawn out dialog about his reasons for doing so, no trying to work out a plan where nobody gets hurt. Just Bang!

In movies, at least, "just bang" is a whole lot better.

Another one that gets me... GG has the drop on BG. BG talks GG into dropping his weapon and fighting it out hand to hand to see who is the better man. Seen this in more than 1 Chuck Norris movie.

Dramatic license is a very bad thing, if you ask me.

ZeSpectre
December 22, 2006, 08:09 PM
I dunno, if someone ever wants to "dance" with me, I hope it is some punk who got all their ideas about a gunfight from those same movies :D

Eleven Mike
December 22, 2006, 08:55 PM
"Tuco Juan Domingo Pacifico Ramirez"; otherwise known as the 'Rat' said it said it best while he was soaking in a bubble bath: "If you're going to talk -talk, if you're going to shoot -shoot!That is truly a great scene. Actually, he very calmly said, "If you're going to shoot - shoot; don't talk."

I always thought it was pretty stupid too, that every second they stand there gives the BG one more chance to squeeze the trigger. That's what I thought. I can't imagine that such things really happen, but then how do I know? My life is no action flick. Those scenes never struck me as wrong until I learned a little more about guns and gun-fighting. But eventually I wondered, "How does he know the guy's not going to pull the trigger RIGHT NOW? Shoot!"

MechAg94
December 22, 2006, 09:27 PM
If there was some yo-yo good guy who just couldn't actually kill anyone, I can see it happening maybe, but dramatic license by bad writers is more likely.

That is one of the reasons I started loving Firefly. There was a potential hostage situation in one of the early episodes. The captain just walks up and shoots the bad guy. Hostage situation over.

frayluisfan
December 22, 2006, 11:06 PM
There was a cool variant on this in a Miami Vice episode. Sonny slowly lowers his gun (I presume to get the BG to lower his mental defenses), then swings up and quickly drills him in the head. I like the idea of lowering the BG's mental awareness, but I'm not good enough to swing the gun up to level and pop a BG who's hiding behind a hostage. I like someone else's earlier idea about talking (Now calm down, buddy, let's see if we can't work this out...), while slowly building pressure on the trigger. Now calm down, buddy, let's see if BANG.

bogie
December 22, 2006, 11:15 PM
Reservoir Dogs.

shotgunkevin
December 23, 2006, 01:44 AM
Hey, don't knock the gunpoint tactics in movies. There must be something to it, since the good guy never gets shot!

I learned all my moves from She Spies. :barf:

scout26
December 23, 2006, 02:33 AM
Remember boys and girls, it's Hollyweird. Not Reality. They have to advance the plot and build tension. Don't take it seriously.......

Arkie
December 23, 2006, 02:38 AM
Remember boys and girls, it's Hollyweird. Not Reality


Whaaat? It's Not Real? awwwwwwwww,,,,,,,,,,

And now you are going to tell me that zombies are not real either! :neener: J/K, LOL...

C-grunt
December 23, 2006, 03:02 AM
My favorite ones that are good are:

1.Open Range as said before. You the man who killed my friend? Yeah. BOOM.
2. Miami Vice where they are in the trailer and the chick gives the little speech.
When the BG goes to answer she shoots him through his open mouth out the back of his head.
3. Also Miami Vice where they kill the drug chicks body guard. He shakes his hand and pulls the snub with his other hand and pops him in the head.

dfaugh
December 23, 2006, 09:52 AM
There was a cool variant on this in a Miami Vice episode. Sonny slowly lowers his gun (I presume to get the BG to lower his mental defenses), then swings up and quickly drills him in the head. I like the idea of lowering the BG's mental awareness, but I'm not good enough to swing the gun up to level and pop a BG who's hiding behind a hostage. I like someone else's earlier idea about talking (Now calm down, buddy, let's see if we can't work this out...), while slowly building pressure on the trigger. Now calm down, buddy, let's see if BANG.

Actually there were a couple different permutations of this in various Miami Vice episodes. My favorite is the one where the BG has his gun to a hostages head, Sonny is about 10 ft. aways. BG says "If I even twitch, I'll blow her head off!" Sonny then drills the guy in forehead and says "Maybe you won't even twitch!".

Joe Gunns
December 23, 2006, 03:42 PM
I think the Mexican Standoff routine in movies and novels,while also a useful plot device, grew out of the general belief among writers (who, as a group, tend to have had at least a bit of classical education) that a person was naturally reluctant to take the life of another. So, if neither GG or BG fired in the first seconds of a confrontation, it was assumed they would try to acheive their objectives through negotiation of some type.

Also, given the American cultural norms of the first 50-75 years of the twentieth century a GG that shot first was not going to be an American hero for long. Your hero had to show restraint and you couldn't very well have the BG do the natural thing and kill him off, so the Mexican Standoff allowed the GG to be provoked into shooting as a last resort and gave the BG time to show how really bad he was. If they had a fist fight instead that was even better at showing the natural superiority of "good." Besides, it was entertainment, not reality.

That ethic began to change with the anti-hero movies in the late 1960's and early 1970's that had a basically amoral "GG" with a small streak of altruism. (This also lead to increasing use of "protagonist" in casual conversation rather than "hero" when discussing books and movies.) An illustration of the cultural desensitization that resulted can be seen in reactions to The Wild Bunch movie. When it came out, the graphic splashing of blood and nonchalant killing was shocking to many audiences and led to much editorializing about the decline of American values. People seeing it today generally think the violence no big deal and the cold-bloodedness just reality.

Reminds me of something Mom said back in the late '60's when I was defending the "new" trend in movies. She was in her early 50's, growing up through the depression and WWII. "If that's reality, then there is no hope for the world, and I am not going to accept that!" My father and grandparents just called anti-hero movies "trash."

:cool:

51Cards
December 24, 2006, 03:09 AM
Which was the one where the guy shoots the hostage (in the leg?) first, hostage drops, guy nails the BG? Now, that's creative. :D

ArfinGreebly
December 24, 2006, 03:49 AM
The scene near the begining where Keanu Reeves shoots his partner so that Dennis Hopper has to let him go?

Jeff Daniels (his partner) reprises the earlier "hypothetical scenario" response of "shoot the hostage" and Keanu Reeves obliges him with a thigh shot.

Of course, this brilliant piece of Hollywood tactics gets mentioned in discussions where people lobby against "lethal force," suggesting instead that "you can shoot to wound, like in that movie." ~ :rolleyes:

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