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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jack McCallister is a professional criminal who manages a caper in
which most of his men are gunned down during an encounter with the
police after they have done the job. Jack manages to conceal the money
away from all the people that wants a part of it. This includes his two
sons, George, who like his father has been in jail for the crimes he
has committed, and Michael, a small time con man, who is too shy to
follow his old man, or his brother.
"Hand Gun", directed by Whitney Ransick, is a film that takes a lighter approach to what we see in the movie. Mr. Ransick, who also wrote the screen play, has done a good job with this story that is more of a comedy, than a heavy take a la Tarantino. There is enough blood to parallel those other films, but Mr. Ransick keeps that light touch throughout the picture.
The main reason for watching this movie is the cast that was assembled. Treat Williams and Paul Schulze play George and Michael McCallister, two brothers that are as different as day and night. Could both have been sired by Jack McCallister? Well, in many ways, the answer is yes. They have a knack for engaging in crime, each in a different style. The excellent Seymour Cassel plays the father. The supporting cast is also a delight to watch. Michael Imperioli, Michael Rappaport, Frank Vincent, John Ventimiglia, Anna Leon, and the rest, give a lot to make this a fine movie, with an ironic twist, a great way to spend time watching it.
For lovers of the genre, they will not be disappointed if they approach this movie without any expectations. Let Mr. Ransick work his way to you with these diverse low lives characters doing unexpected things.
Handgun is about as original as its title, but it benefits from a reasonably well written screenplay and a simply outstanding cast: really, how can you go wrong when you have Seymour Cassel, Frank Vincent, Luis Guzman, Treat Williams, Michael Imperioli, and Paul Schulze all in the same film? Predictable? yes. Enjoyable? Thoroughly. Mob movies fans need to catch this one.
This entertaining and well-crafted film opens with a ferocious shootout, following a New York City daylight heist, after which only one of the bandits survives, Jack McCallister (Seymour Cassel), who flees with one-half million dollars that he stows in a Coney Island storage facility locker before going to a hiding spot, a dingy apartment, while being sought by police and mobsters, in addition to Jack's sons George (Treat Williams) and Michael (Paul Schulze), all of whom are desirous of locating the secreted loot. Jack is deceived and gunned down, but before his death he separately tells his sons a portion of information that will lead them to the locker, and if they combine this death throe knowledge, the cash will be theirs to share equally, but mutual distrust between the brothers who additionally are being pursued by renegade police and gangsters, leads to an exciting and ironic climax. Acting throughout is top-flight with players being ably directed, and ad libbing is smoothly accomplished by Williams, together with Vincent and others, the former earning acting honours with his terrific turn as an amoral career criminal, while others who impress include Schulze, Cassel, Star Jasper and the unduplicatable Anna Thomson (Levine) as Jack's lady love. Director Whitney Ransick scripts as well, a very neatly composed screenplay, indeed, as he confidently weaves various subplots together, abetted by consistently creative compositions from cinematographer Michael Spiller who, along with composer Douglas J. Cuomo, strongly benefit a film that avoids hackneyed formulae that plague its genre of crime themed works, thanks to the solid contributions from all involved, including those charged with post-production finishing.
That's how Joe Bob Briggs put it when I first saw this film back in 1995
The Movie Channel. In early 2002, it was on late night on TMC, and I got
check it out for the first time in years.
Still a great crime movie with excellent dialogue and acting. For 'Soprano's' fans, you will definitely love seeing many of your favorite characters pop up in this earlier work, many of which are minor roles. Treat Williams, Paul Schulze, Frank Vincent, and several others give great performances. The action sequences, consisting mostly of close-up gun battles, are a little hard to believe, unless people in New York are lousy shots. But the storyline and comedy bits definitely make this a worthwhile film to watch, especially for fans of mob movies.
Vincent Cassel is at the top of his game, scoring a half million dollars in a daring robbery and shoot out. Treat Williams and Paul Schulze play his squabbling sons. When the old man is shot by some unsavory characters looking for his stashed cash, Williams and Shulze each get partial information on the money's location. This of course smacks of Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach's quest for Confederate gold hidden in a cemetery, while being pursued by Lee VanCleef, in "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly". There is some sharp humor in "Hand Gun", and the acting and character development is excellent. Highly recommended. - MERK
I expected a good-guys versus mafia types, and kinda got it. After about
minutes, I thought the dialog was stupid, and the characters unbelievable.
After another 5 minutes, I realized that it actually was a comedy, very
subtle and understated.
I would have given it a higher grade if I had known that sooner. Whose fault was that? They have to take some of the blame.
I'm not sure why this movie was called Hand Gun. There are a lot of guns in the movie but the title is to generic. The movie itself is mostly forgettable and none are the characters are very sympathetic. It does have a surprising sense of humor. It is subtle but it is there.
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