Die in a Gunfight Review

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

PLOT: Two star-crossed lovers (Diego Boneta & Alexandra Daddario) attempt to be together despite their duelling media titan fathers.

REVIEW: For those not in the know, Die in a Gunfight was a hot script back in 2010. It made the Black List that year (a survey of the best unproduced screenplays) and was intended to be a Zac Efron vehicle for a while. As is usual in Hollywood, it took over a decade for Die in a Gunfight to get made, and Efron wound up aging out of the lead somewhat, resulting in what I assume is a more modest version of the movie than was intended back in 2010.

Yet another post-modern take on Romeo & Juliet, the movie this most reminds me of is a long-forgotten Shia LaBeouf vehicle called Charlie Countryman, which was an attempt to make a high-octane youth love story. Die in a Gunfight doesn't add much to the genre, despite some stylistic flair from director Collin Schiffli and a jaunty ninety-minute pace.

While moderately entertaining as far as VOD movies go, one can't help but notice there's very little substance here beyond what they ripped off from Romeo and Juliet. However, I imagine the Bard was less of an influence than Baz Luhrman. The star-crossed lovers are a mixed bag. Alexandra Daddario is beautiful, but she's not given much substance to chew on. I like it when she cuts loose in movies like We Summon the Darkness, but here she's got the basic love interest part. Diego Boneta, as the glutton for punishment hero who likes to take random beatings to "feel something," feels utterly miscast. A good-looking dude; he was brilliant in a recent movie I saw called New Order, but he feels vacuous here.

Of everyone, the supporting cast fare the best, with Travis Fimmel stealing every scene as a neurotic hitman, working with his star-crossed love (Emmanuelle Chriqui) while out to get our hero. He has a fun arc. I also dug the movie's Mercutio analog, Mukul (pronounced McCool because he's cool as sh*t), played by Wade Allain-Marcus.

One of the most disappointing elements of the film – I have to say – is the near-total lack of action. When you have a title like Die in a Gunfight, you can reasonably expect some…ya know…gunfights! There's very little of that here. There are a few hand-to-hand scraps, but otherwise, this emphasizes romance, which is two-dimensional. The film also suffers from a weak villain, with Justin Chatwin's character playing Daddario's former bodyguard who's obsessed with her. He works out a deal with her dad to marry her (by force) and stake a claim in her empire. The movie also has near-constant narration by Billy Crudup, which is interesting given how similar this is to Charlie Countryman. That film also had narration when it premiered at Sundance years ago, but it was wisely excised for the final release. It's fine here, but I've always felt narration is gimmicky unless you have a solid take, and certainly, its use in Die in a Gunfight isn't going to change my mind.

In the end, Die in a Gunfight is passable entertainment, but it's also nothing you haven't seen done before – and better. Daddario is gorgeous, and Fimmel and Allain-Marcus have their moments, but overall this is a pretty forgettable flick despite its claim to fame of having once been on The Black List.

Die in a Gunfight



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Source: JoBlo.com

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.