Two groups of armed men eye each other across a body of water. An deadly incident ensues and the first group returns to their town in fear of the consequences, which never come.They realize that far greater danger is offing.
When boredom, pride and a mad second of misjudgement leaves a hunter shot dead by one of five combat veterans also hunting in the Canadian hills, it is expected a police investigation will follow, but when the veterans discover the incident has not been reported, the leader of the team, Major Rex (Cliff Robertson) suspects the other party maybe plotting revenge. Convinced that he, his party, and their families will be targets themselves he decides to beat his suspected assailants at their own game, grouping together more army comrades and stocking up an arsenal of weapons for the forthcoming battle. Written by
As the reviewer Snowleopard points out, the premise for the Canadian film Shoot is a good one, the accidental gunning-down of a hunter by a member of another hunting party, and the subsequent ramping up of a revenge attack on the opposition the next time they're out in the wild. But good ideas sometimes run afoul of sloppy direction and lack of production cash.
Shoot sounds good, but looks cheap. Yet, even when you've given up on the movie, when you don't even care anymore that the film has some great talent (Cliff Robertson, Ernest Borgnine, and Henry Silva), you're still rooting for some sort of justice or even just a violent closure to the tragedy that sets the stage for the film.
You get the impression that this is just one more of those earlier Canadian films that were thrown together to compete with American products, but didn't have the expertise or the financial backing to pull it off. This isn't an insult to Canada; the skill that Canadian film-makers exhibit is excellent, but skills take practice to acquire and Shoot looks like practice (watch Russian Roulette with George Segal to get a feel for a film industry finding itself).
Anyway, as a 19 year old, I was astonished by the ending of the film. Thirty years later, I would probably see it coming a mile away. Unfortunately, I can't find Shoot, but I would suggest that if you can acquire a cheap copy (or even see an edited version on TV), you should do it. The performances are tense and the scenery is stark and beautiful.
My recollections are from HBO in 1979 or so, but I do have an affection for this movie. There is a place in Spokane, Washington, under the T.J. Meenach Bridge, on the way to Spokane Falls Community College that will remind you of the river scene in the climax to Shoot. Covered with snow, with icy river water rushing by, you can imagine the climactic shootout in this movie taking place right in front of your eyes.
It's a pleasant memory of a mediocre movie.
Not a bad thing.
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