Rating: 3 on 4
Tag Line: Kiss the bride, take the
Directed by Christian Sesma
Starring Paul Sloan, Danny Trejo, Samantha Lockwood, Jason Mewes, Fred Williamson and Nick Turturro
THE PLAN: A bickering couple, a couple of losers carrying bags of laundry and a crime boss played by Danny Trejo cross paths after a jewelry heist gone wrong. Along the way, guns are a blazing and people are getting shot up, but my how these folks bicker in between.
THE KILL: Shoot The Hero is an interesting hybrid. On one hand, it is simply a relationship flick that explores two very different couples coming to terms with one another. Since the story is told in three parts with different characters being the main focus for each chapter, we see some very different personalities explored.
The hybrid comes with a lot of guys brandishing guns and shooting the shite out of each other. In fact, when we meet Nate (Jason Mewes) and Kate (Samantha Lockwood), we find that they are a couple on the verge of calling it quits. While Nate is desperate to keep her, she has other intentions and seems to simply be putting up with her man. That is until he surprises her by blindfolding her and bringing her to pick out engagement rings before a jewelry store of choice closes. What seems to be a sweet attempt on Nate’s part falls short for Kate. In essence, it becomes just a pathetic attempt to save a relationship that may never be healed. Never say never.
Once the two arrive and the man closing the store decides to let them in, things go from bad to worse. A group of gunmen come in looking to make a whole lot of money off of diamonds and whatever else they can get their hands on. Meanwhile, the lovebirds are crouched underneath a display case, still fighting about whatever everything. This mix of guns blazing with WHEN HARRY MET SALLY… type of dialogue may cut down some of the excitement a good action scene needs, but it sure is entertaining. The actors involved here were all especially likeable, even the main guys with guns.
Paul Sloan plays a tough guy who seemingly gets double-crossed, and he makes for one helluva bad ass. And keeping everything grounded is Mewes and Lockwood. While this is nothing like the Jason Mewes you are used to seeing, especially without “Silent Bob”, he is quite good. But I have to say, Ms. Lockwood is just terrific. This could’ve easily been the “bitch” role and she could have taken the easy route. But no, she is able to give her Kate a sense of honesty and charm. Just an absolutely lovely performance. And speaking of charm, the next story is loaded with the stuff.
In the second act, we meet a couple of losers that go by the name of “The Smith Brothers”. There is Fat Smith (Nic Nac) and Thin Smith (Mike Hatton). They dress as if they are color blind and spent about five dollars on their wardrobe which must have been purchased at a low rent thrift store (my kind of guys). And they carry around a garbage bag filled with dirty clothes. The two men are stranded and seem to wanna kill each other any chance they get. Now their story is beyond odd, as they soon end up at some kind of survivalist training camp and Fat gets caught. Again, the two bickering brothers find themselves in an extreme situation and have to use their wits to escape. Luckily, both Nic and Mike are equally funny and are able to keep the zingers in the dialogue rolling back and forth. This balance of bullets, violence and punch lines is an odd mix, but it really works well here.
The worst thing you can say about Shoot The Hero is that the action won’t be enough for those looking for strictly a shoot ’em up flick. Once our heroes were established, you had little doubt who would come out a winner. And as much fun as I had with the Smith Bros. and a bitter couple near breaking it off, sometimes the dialogue seemed to last just a smidgen too long. But that was a minor complaint as the actors were able to keep it fresh and writer/director Christian Sesma handled his duties quite well when it needed to fill whatever genre was happening at the time.
There was just a minor taste of Kevin Smith or even Edgar Wright hidden beneath the B-movie fun, yet it still felt quirky and enjoyable. By the time we get to the final half hour or so, and the stories all merge into one, it upped my interest. It was a satisfying way to tie it all together and make for an entertaining, genre-hopping good time. It would be terrible for me to omit the pure cool factor that Danny Trejo and his posse added. You can’t do much better than adding both Baby Doll and China Doll, played respectively by Katie Morgan and Annemarie Pazmino, into the mix. Can I say stunning? But sorry boys, the lingerie only offers a peak at their fine attributes.
TOP DEATH: Sadly, I am having trouble remembering a really solid death sequence. But, the final shootout near the end gets a whole lot groovier when Annemarie pulls out her pistols and shoots away. All the while a whole bunch of fellas get blown away by that… you know what I mean.
TOP ACTION SCENE: Again, I’d have to say the final action scene pulls the most punches, but I don’t want to give too much away. Let’s just say that the Smith Brothers are a real surprise here and these dudes are absolutely able to pull it off.
TOP HOMOEROTIC MOMENT: This is a tough one, but I will say that there is certainly some sexual tension when the survivalists pick on Fat Smith. Or is it just that I think of these redneck dummies as Deliverance folk when I see guys like this, who don’t seem to have the killin’ part correct?
FEMALE EXPLOITATION: Ah… did I happen to mention the luscious Annemarie and Katie? Come on, like we needed another reason to want to be as bad ass as Danny Trejo. No nudity, but panties and lace are very, very nice.
TOP LINE/DIALOGUE: Whew… I only caught the film once so I can’t give you specifics. But the Smith Bros. blurting out lines of dialogue from other flicks was fun.
DRINKING GAME: I was too drunk to think of one.
TRIVIA: Taylor Negron appears in the film as the jewelry store employee. Amongst numerous films, he was a pizza delivery guy in the classic teen flick FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH.