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6/10
A bit too over the top, but some fine action enhances it
Leofwine_draca2 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Well I don't really have much to say about these clever-clever twisty thrillers so I'll keep my review short. THE WAY OF THE GUN is a mixed bag. On one hand you have an overly labyrinthine plot which keeps piling on the characters and layers, causing the audience to stay on its toes at every moment to keep track of what's going on. Characters are not introduced and sometimes their motives not explained clearly, like what the heck was Geoffrey Lewis doing and who was he? I'm sure it was explained somewhere in the film but on casual viewing its easy to miss.

Another flaw is that the two "heroes" of the film are a detestable pair, so its difficult to care whether they get killed or not during the film's course. Both are cold-blooded killers and kidnappers, only in it for themselves, lacking any moral scruples whatsoever. Now I know this worked with stuff like RESERVOIR DOGS but their characters just aren't as interesting in this film. And what is it with the opening? The over-the-top use of bad language isn't funny, just offensive and a good way to lose viewers right from the start.

Right, after that little rant, we come to the good points. Firstly the ensemble cast, with Ryan Philippe, Benicio del Toro, James Caan, Geoffrey Lewis, Juliette Lewis, Taye Diggs, Scott Wilson and others all putting in strong performances in their respective roles. Watching these actors emote is half the fun and its not often so many individual acting styles cross in a single movie. Secondly, the movie is unpredictable and often grittily realistic. The action sequences are also well-choreographed, culminating in a huge epic bloody shoot-out which owes a nod to THE WILD BUNCH but is enjoyable in its own right, with lots of blood squibs exploding and stylish deaths. Check out that moment where Philippe jumps into the 'empty' fountain - one of the best throwaway shock/painful moments I've seen in a film in a while. Despite the fact that I'm not really a fan of modern movies in which the characters are arrogant and unlikeable, and that this appears to be geared towards a teen market, THE WAY OF THE GUN is an interesting film which is worthwhile if you're looking for something a little different. It just won't set your world on fire.
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5/10
Good start but fades away
SnoopyStyle2 June 2014
Parker (Ryan Phillippe) and Longbaugh (Benicio Del Toro) are two petty criminals with not much going for them. They come up with a scheme to kidnap surrogate Robin (Juliette Lewis) who is carrying a gangster's baby. She is under guard every moment by Jeffers (Taye Diggs) and Obecks (Nicky Katt).

This starts with a pretty funny scene with a loudmouth Sarah Silverman pushing her boyfriend to fight Ryan Phillippe. She gets punched in the face and it's shockingly funny. I wish the rest of this is just as good. Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie has created something that is a little bit off. It's pulpy but it's way too much of a mess. It has a bit of action, but there are long stretches of boring inaction . It tries to be 'Pulp Fiction' but he ain't no Tarantino. But then who is? The dialog is stiff. Overall there is no likable character anywhere, not even Robin. There is no rooting interest. It is stretched out far too much after an interesting kidnapping start. McQuarrie is trying to do his own movie after the success of writing 'The Usual Suspects'. It shows some promise with some unusual touches. However this is a near miss overall.
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Not a brilliant or perfect film but a solid and entertaining old-school genre film with good dialogue and direction
bob the moo22 December 2006
Longbaugh and Parker are two criminal drifters who have maimed and murdered their way through existence. Earning money however they can, they learn of a young woman who is being a surrogate mother for a rich businessman. In a violent shootout, they snatch the woman (Robin) from her two bodyguards and escape. When they make their demands though they learn that the father of the baby is a man who handles money and such on behalf of the mobsters and other undesirables. With the pressure on, Longbaugh and Parker find themselves pursued by a variety of men all with different interests and priorities. However it ends, it will not end well.

Having already gotten his Oscar, McQuarrie sets out to make his directing debut with a film that, lets be honest, was never going to stand up to the fame of what had gone before. However what he does deliver is a satisfying story in a world where morals and good people don't really exists and the acceptance of violence is as common as the acceptance of the world being round. In doing this the film doesn't make itself out as a classic or a brilliant film that will win over all audiences but it does produce a good crime story with interesting twists, strong dialogue, a good helping of cool and so on. So far so Tarantino I assumed from the start but, where countless others have rifted on this theme, McQuarrie steps back to something a bit more fundamental and a bit more in (as others have said) Peckinpah territory. I found the lack of pop culture to be quite refreshing – particularly after so many ripoffs. This is not to say that the film is akin to the second coming, because it isn't, but it is a very enjoyable genre film in a genre that is easily stuck on "repeat".

McQuarrie's direction is good. Like the overall approach of the film he is professional and steady and touches of style (eg the momentary freeze-frames) are selectively and well used. The cast are roundly good with everyone singing from the same tough song sheet. Del Toro fits the film like a glove and he works well with Ryan – helping to cover up for the fact that the latter doesn't totally work as a violent, criminal drifter. Caan is typically a class act who does well even if his character isn't as filled out as I would have liked. I found Lewis a bit grating but that is generally because I'm not a massive fan of her anyway. The support cast has solid enough turns from Diggs, Geoffrey Lewis and a typically foul-mouthed turn from Silverman in the opening scene that perhaps doesn't fit the film but certainly gets your attention.

Overall then a solid genre film that is delivered in a serious and refreshingly old-school manner. Not a brilliant or perfect film, but moaning that it isn't Usual Suspects is unfair and those that meet it on its genre terms will find it steady and entertaining.
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9/10
Does the gun have a way
kosmasp18 June 2020
Living on the edge - living by your sword (or gun in that case). Not making excuses for what you are and what you want to achieve. Still complex enough to care. And enough human relationships to really hold your attention and maybe even make you as a viewer care.

Now this is not just silly action. There may be quite the coincidences and convenient meet ups, but overall this is very well thought through - by the screenwriter that is. With things that give it an edge (be it card playing or shards of glass where one of our "heroes" don't expect them) and makes it quite the exciting view. And if you dig and get through the movie, the final showdown is quite the treat ... and to think they almost ran out of time shooting that ... amazing. A possible hidden gem, that is worth watching
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6/10
A moderately entertaining Tarantino wannabe.
BA_Harrison7 October 2016
The success of Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction spawned a whole wave of gritty copycat thrillers that revolved around unsavoury characters doing bad things to each other. The Way of The Gun is one such film, featuring two reprehensible criminal drifters— Mr. Parker (Ryan Phillippe) and Mr. Longbaugh (Benicio Del Toro)—who kidnap and hold to ransom Robin (Juliette Lewis), the heavily pregnant surrogate mother of a Mafia money launderer, who shows his displeasure by sending out his toughest men to bring her back.

Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who also wrote the over-rated The Usual Suspects, the film struggles to match the hip sense of style or sharpness of dialogue of either of Tarantino's aforementioned films, despite the best efforts of a cool cast that includes Taye Diggs, James Caan, and Juliette's old man, Geoffrey Lewis. McQuarrie does at least manage to end his film with a suitably ballistic scene that lives up to the title: a well executed and very bloody Peckinpah style gun battle that leaves a pile of corpses in its wake.
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He had said:you'll give birth in pain.
dbdumonteil20 October 2004
"Way of the gun" begins with a prologue that makes you think you can fear the worst.Did the writers want to break all the records as far as swearwords are concerned? and however there is a strong competition in this field.Then ,after the cast and credits,the screenplay becomes absorbing,introducing a lot of characters who are not what they seem at first sight.The film often leaves the central threesome (Lewis,Del Toro,Philippe)and tells us a lot about the others.Each of theses characters seem to have his own story,and the story even verges on melodrama.An example:we do think that the doctor is only a fleeting part whereas he plays a very important part in the plot.

But in the last third ,the movie loses steam :it resembles a Peckinpah movie and it's only guns and blood ,fusillade and violence (and tortures).The writers seem to have jettisoned all that made their screenplay worthwhile.The last (very short) sequence was not neither surprising nor convincing:I felt there was something missing.

The cast is excellent,with Juliette Lewis the stand-out:painless childbirth nohow.
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7/10
Off and on, a great film
Quinoa198416 September 2000
This film had a lot of great stuff to look for, but unfortunately, it lulled in spots, which is a downer for a type of Tarantino Resovoir Dogs type of flick. Writer and first time director Chris McQuarie has a lot of good things here, but he might want to consider a little editing though. There are, believe it or not, some not needed scenes here (maybe so, maybe not). But, lukcily, some of them are overshadowed by a better than average script and very credible actors: Ryan Phillipe and Benicio Del Torro make a good duo, Juliette Lewis is slutty yet charming in a pregnant role and most notably in one of his best roles, James Caan as a aging hitman who will get villain fans cheering. Exceptional action ending and it's actors almost make up for some boring points in this film and it is worth a look whether it is likeable or not. B+
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3/10
"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" in the Red and without Charm
wes-connors16 August 2009
Foul-mouthed "metrosexuals" (at the very least) Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro can't find work in Los Angeles. Despite their sharp haircuts, they are street thugs. So, they kidnap a very pregnant Juliette Lewis for ransom money. As luck would have it, Ms. Lewis turns out to be the surrogate mother for a very wealthy gangster. Mr. Phillippe and Mr. Del Toro ask for 15 million dollars in "unmarked bills" (they're new at this). Things get complicated when Lewis reveals a shocking secret about the baby. Doctor Dylan Kussman provides some plot intrigue and stiff-necked James Caan takes care of unpleasantries. Writer turning director Christopher McQuarrie mixes shoot-out and child labor blood with vociferous ads for the "Coca-Cola" company.

*** The Way of the Gun (9/8/00) Christopher McQuarrie ~ Ryan Phillippe, Benicio Del Toro, Juliette Lewis, James Caan
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We Don't Need No Steenkin Badges
tedg15 February 2001
Some films hang on the writing alone. Of those, very few impress. That's because when you commit to the word, everything else must be sublimated. No cinematic flash, no extraneous acting effects, no character for character sake. Just riveting relentless movement.

I can only imagine how difficult it is for the director to toe the line on this.

Great storytelling. See it. So many clichés are avoided: a bunch of coincidences and unlikely connections add up to a huge artifice that is taken in unlikely directions from the very first crackling moment. 'Usual Suspects' was more clever, this is more practiced.

But not particularly great movie-making. That's because while the storytelling is fresh and unexpected, the eye is not. It is hard to be novel with guns in Mexico -- these images are pretty well-worn. (The Butch and Kid stuff is a mite heavy, and to make them gay!) So we have here the compliment of 'Snatch,' all story, no image.

Caan looks pretty uncomfortable, which is apt.
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6/10
Way of the Gun
Scarecrow-8810 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Violence ensues when two criminal lowlifes (Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro) decide to kidnap a pregnant surrogate (Juliette Lewis), carrying the baby to be adopted by a wealthy man (Scott Wilson) and his less-than-pleased trophy wife (Kristin Lehman). Soon they encounter some of his hired henchman, led by James Caan. With Taye Diggs, vet Geoffrey Lewis, and Nicky Katt as those either getting caught in the crossfire or offering fire towards Phillippe and Del Toro. Caan's being the father to Lewis adds a bit of gravitas to the gunfight, while Phillippe and Del Toro always attempting to make that big score against him proves to be the great question of "will they or won't they?" "Way of the Gun" is a guns-a-blazing shoot 'em up with credible car chases and a really bonafide western standoff at the end with the film's anti-heroes unloading ammunition at Caan and company with a brunt of the damage inflicted on the brothel itself. Not to be outdone, there is plentiful bloodshed and bodies are most certainly torn apart by some of the bullets that don't destroy the walls and shutters. Phillippe and Del Toro most definitely don't escape the film unscathed, and Caan's not even receiving one bullet during the whole affair, considering all the bullets that fire in all directions I found rather clever. There are really few characters in the movie to side with or care about, so "Way of the Gun" rests almost exclusively on its gunplay which is in abundance and full display. Del Toro is his usual quirky self while Phillippe is so intense he could crack walnuts between his ass cheeks. Caan is…well…Caan, so if you like him then here he is. Lewis plays her part relatively straight as the unfortunate barter item as bullets go off all around her. Dyllan Kussman as the surgeon burdened with trying to monitor Lewis' health and deliver the child if needed is like a fawn trapped in a dangerous forest surrounded by bears. I like the way the gunfights are staged and how these men shoot aimlessly mostly, rarely hitting their targets until a mistake of revealing themselves at the wrong time results in their demise. Diggs' fate in particular is rather startling. Phillippe's dive into a dried-up water fountain filled with broken bottles verifies the unpredictable nature of getting in a gunfight in the middle of nowhere when circumstances can rise against you. The "draw" is given a bit of irony as the film's typical anti-hero doesn't have any bullets left and, as a result, is put down due to his wasted ammo while the opposition has a seat comfortably.
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1/10
Dreadful
preppy-318 September 2000
A 2 hour commercial for guns. Two morons capture a heavily pregnant woman, and hold her for ransom. The direction is good, but that's about it. The plot makes no sense (I'm still not sure what a whole group of old men was doing in this), characters appear and disappear very quickly, the humor is sick, the tone of the film is very disturbing and it's just one gunfight after another. As for the acting...they have good actors, but they give the worst performances of their careers. Taye Diggs, Ryan Philippe, James Caan...all are horrible...and they're all very good actors! A total waste of time and talent.
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9/10
"What are you going to tell God in your defense? I'm gonna say I was framed."
LeonLouisRicci24 September 2013
Hard-Boiled Neo-Noir that was mostly Panned and a big Flop. Oscar Winner Mcquarrie (Writer/The Usual Suspects) now Pens and Directs this gritty, unpleasant, edgy, Violent, and absolutely underrated Movie. This is uneasy stuff, peppered with realistic Gun-Play filled with bloody mayhem. It is all done with wit and without clichés such as Slow-Motion or Shaky-Cam.

It is Dialog Driven fueled by Ultra-Violence along a road filled with unappealing Characters, Backstabbers, and Slimy/Greedy Money Men. The most sympathetic is a Bag Man/Cleaner, played with impassioned intensity by James Caan ("You can assume one thing about a broken down Old Man...He's a survivor.").

Also the Audience may feel compassion for Juliette Lewis who pulls out the stops here as an about to give Birth pregnant Woman that is central to the Plot. The two Leads pull together and are despicable but if you pay close attention there is a spark of Humanism way down in their Souls. This is not meant to be a good time Movie, but there is some Fun in watching this Stylish display of Gangsters and Street Criminals.

A Film that is an energetic, Craftwork that was unfairly dumped on by Critics who must have missed the Originality and Knee-Jerked this into Rip-Off-Land. Not so. This is a somewhat new take and a fresh Story on some very rotten People. A must see for Fans of sharply Written Dialog and spiked up shoot-outs, all done quite well in this blackest of Black Comedies with a Heart of Darkness.
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8/10
I'd never ask you to trust me. It's the cry of a guilty soul.
lastliberal17 May 2009
It's like watching The Usual Suspects all over again. Of course, writer/director Christopher McQuarrie wrote that one also. Now, he is doing the whole thing. Yes, you can expect multiple twists and turns, and you will need a scorecard to follow the action.

Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro are just a couple of small timers that snatch the wrong baby. Why wrong? Because they now have to deal with Taye Diggs and Nicky Katt one one side, and James Caan and Geoffrey Lewis on the other. Either way, they are not likely to survive.

Scott Wilson (Sam Braun on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation") is the expectant father and boss of all these thugs. His wife, Francesca (Kristin Lehman) can't be bothered having a baby, so they hire Robin (Juliette Lewis) to have it. There is a lot more things going on, but that would be spoiling it. Suffice it to say that this will not end up as anyone expects.

Bullets fly throughout this film that features a great car chase and some outstanding dialog.

An under-appreciated jewel.
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6/10
Not bad, just a pointless movie.
Boba_Fett113829 July 2010
It's obvious that this movie got heavily inspired by many other genre movies. It tries to be just like them but it perhaps tries a bit too hard. It tries to combine basically every element that makes these type of old fashioned crime movies so great. It's just too much and it doesn't make the movie a very consistent one either. It therefore all also doesn't work out too original, which makes this movie feel a pretty redundant and pointless one, that you can easily do without.

No, it by no means is an horrible movie but it's also not one I'm eager on ever seeing again. It's not really a fun or entertaining movie to watch and it takes itself very serious.

A problem of this movie is also really its story. The movie doesn't begin off too bad but the more characters gets introduced in it, the worse it gets. I started too loose interest real fast in this movie. It's incredibly annoying how basically every character has his or her own agenda in this movie. The movie should had sticked more to its two main leads, played by Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro. That way the movie would had been better to watch and possibly also more fun. Now instead the movie starts giving you an headache with all of its characters and its long dialog. In the end you also just really don't know who is fighting who anymore and why.

I can really see and appreciate what director Christopher McQuarrie was trying to do with this movie but I think he should just stick to his writing career. He can write great and also complicated stories, he just can't tell them very well, as this movie proofs.

For this movie he still got a whole bunch of well known names to appear in his movie. Besides Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro, also Juliette Lewis, Taye Diggs and James Caan make their appearances. In a way it's also really an actors movie, since it's often filed with some long dialog. Nevertheless there also is plenty or room for some action, which still helps to spice things up a little for the movie. The action is simply great for most part.

The movie never really gets horrible to watch but it also never really becomes an intriguing or entertaining one. It's a movie you can easily do without.

6/10

http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/
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Ode to Peckinpaugh -neo-noir pulp fiction
george.schmidt28 April 2004
THE WAY OF THE GUN (2000) ***1/2 Ryan Phillippe, Benicio del Toro, Juliette Lewis, James Caan, Taye Diggs, Nicky Katt, Scott Wilson, Kristin Lehmann, Geoffrey Lewis, Sarah Silverman.

Christopher McQuarrie makes his directing debut in a big way with an obvious nod to Sam Peckinpaugh with his screenplay about two ne'er do well criminals (Phillippe and del Toro, both exemplary) who decide to make a mark for themselves by kidnapping a very pregnant surrogate mother (Lewis) to a wealthy businessman (Wilson) that eventually pans out to be a big mistake in a tangled web involving the woman's bodyguards (Diggs and Katt) and the bagman friend of the rich man (Caan in one fine, low-key performance of nuanced dread). More than enough rich dialogue and pinpoint camera angle set ups to go around with some live wire moments of unexpected turnarounds, double crosses and shoot outs may be the film's only fault in being an excess of too much of a good thing. A roundelette of pulp fiction best served by its exciting cast (as a side note, del Toro reminded me for some reason as a young Robert Mitchum in some scenes; go figure) and a filmmaker to watch.
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5/10
Guns and Money
view_and_review7 January 2021
"The longest distance between two points is a kidnapper and his money," is what Parker (Ryan Phillippe) said in a brief monologue. Then somewhere along the way he and Longbaugh (Benicio Del Toro) kidnapped a pregnant Robin (Juliette Lewis). The movie started off very funny. In fact, it was fabulously funny for about ten minutes.

I didn't fully understand the movie because I missed the point of why Parker and Longbaugh kidnapped Juliette Lewis in the first place. Then James Caan entered the picture.

There was a lot of shooting over a woman and a baby and some money. Some real OK Corral type stuff. It all boiled down to what a lot of movies boil down to: money. The end.
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4/10
No Badge of Honor Here.
anaconda-4065816 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The Way of the Gun (2000): Dir: Christopher McQuarrie / Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Ryan Phillippe, James Caan, Juliette Lewis, Taye Diggs: Nobody cares what happens in this film because there is not a character in it that we care about. It regards violence and the senseless actions that resort to such extremes. This is proved within a climax where bullets fly, people die and viewers are unmoved. The film stars Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro who kidnap a pregnant woman played by Juliette Lewis. James Caan demands that the child be delivered safely but he is hiding a secret. His son is Lewis's doctor who apparently got into trouble in Baltimore and owes Caan more than a few favors. Intriguing setup derails into gory violence. Director Christopher McQuarrie delivers on the action but never finds an emotional core. Phillippe and Del Toro are constantly in the midst of violence but they display no sense of human worth. Lewis is doing little more than be a waiting pregnant woman. Caan is given his umpteenth gangster role that has plagued his career since The Godfather, and rarely can these roles match what that film played out. There is no reason to see this film unless one has some sadistic desire to watch human destruction and carnage at its exploited worst. Pointless mayhem demonstrates that the way of the gun is no way at all. Score: 4 / 10
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4/10
Convoluted story and characters you don't care about
Wuchakk5 October 2012
On the surface "The Way of the Gun" (2000) looks like a good, offbeat flick. It was written & directed by a proved writer and features a quality cast. In addition, the film is touted as a "modern Western" with two protagonists (term used loosely) patterned after Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (their names in the film were the last names of Butch & Sundance).

THE PLOT: Two low-life criminals kidnap a pregnant surrogate of a rich couple who, unknowingly, has ties to the mob.

The film starts out as a comedy with cussing every other word and then morphs into a serious crime thriller-drama. The score is likably offbeat.

Two problems hold the film back: (1.) A plot that becomes ridiculously convoluted and therefore increasingly unbelievable, and (2.) unlikable characters, except for maybe the surrogate. Concerning the second fault, I understand the concept of antiheroes, but even antiheroes have to have some redeemable or universally human qualities to make the audience root for them or care about them. Wolverine and Clint Eastwood's Western characters, like Josey Wales, are good examples, as are the antiheroes in films like "Runaway Train" and "Apocalypse Now," two cinematic masterpieces. These two problems naturally create disinterest. By the 90 minute mark, with only a half hour to go, I couldn't care less about the characters, their story or how it turned out, even though I really tried.

To the film's credit, it has style and surprising glimpses of depth, but the absurdly convoluted screenplay and unlikable characters sink "The Way of the Gun."

The film was shot in Utah.

GRADE: C-
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3/10
Aviod this one
mm-3919 January 2001
I gave this movie a 3, and the shoot out at the end is the only reason it did not get a 2. The story line is hard to follow, choppy, and make little scence. James Caan did not look to healthy in this film, and finding him playing a heavy in a shoot out is quite unbelievable. The characters were very unlikly bad guys, and why would some women who is about ready to give birth have security like the president. Not to ruin the story, would a mobster really use a security firm to watch over someone instead of his own people. Well if you can follow this story it reminds me of one of thoes low budget 70's films that did not make alot of sence. This is a b movie.
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7/10
A Nutshell Review: (DVD) The Way of the Gun (2000)
DICK STEEL1 January 2006
Written by the same dude who wrote The Usual Suspects, The Way of the Gun is a much simpler tale compared to the award winning Suspects. It tells of two small time crooks, played by Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro, who get entangled in a game of crooks versus crooks when they try to pull of a kidnapping.

Dreaming of bigger things in life, but regardless of the method used to achieve their dreams of riches, they overhear a conversation at a sperm bank clinic (one of the most happening dialogues in the movie happens there) about a surrogate mother bearing the child of some rich family. They decide to kidnap the lady, played by Juliette Lewis, and hold the mother and child hostage.

However, they embroil themselves into a bigger web of intrigue, as every character, from the mother, the husband and wife who employed her, the doctor, the bodyguards, to the "bagmen", all have their own agenda, and the relationships between one another must be one of the most complex written for the screen in recent times. Everything is more than meets the eye, and betrayals and double crossings are the agenda for the day.

The pacing is well measured, and there are moments of suspense masterfully injected at points in the movie. I like the initial hostage taking scene, where the sudden shift of focus and introduction of complexity catches our two anti-heroes Longbaugh (Del Toro) and Parker (Phillippe) completely off guard. The car chase and pursuit is also one of the more innovative and quirky scenes in the movie, one which Del Toro actually suggested, and got it made on screen. You have to watch it to believe.

The finale gives a kick to western shoot-em-up fans, as Longbaugh and Parker go head to head with everyone in a Mexican brothel, using modern day weapons of shotguns and handguns. Thrown into the mix is veteran James Caan, as a bag-man extraordinaire, having been so long in the business because of his experience in staying alive.

Del Toro and Phillippe exude an excellent bond of camaraderie between their characters - they trust nobody except for themselves, while I thought Juliette Lewis was terrific in her role as the very pregnant mother caught between both sides, and yet bringing out strength as she fights for her child's and her own survival, taking her interests in her own hands.

It's a good mix of action and workout for your brain as you figure out the relationships between the characters as the narrative moves along. Suited for those mundane afternoons in which you want to break out from.

No special additions in this Code 1 DVD.
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7/10
A hard pill, but it grabs you
Mr-Fusion10 December 2015
Despite the cold-hearted nihilism of "The Way of the Gun" (a bleak movie to be sure), there's a scene that's always stood out to me. Ryan Phillippe and Benicio del Toro, guns loaded for an epic shootout, stroll into a brother full of lolling prostitutes. Phillippe clears his throat and the ladies take the hint and head for the door. It's such a subtle scene, but is also representative of the movie's overall sense of humor (excepting the punch to the face of Sarah Silverman in the opening scene, which is not at all subtle but still one for the ages).

And there does exist an actual sense of humor, but you have to grit your teeth through the downbeat story to appreciate it. Phillippe and del Toro are like a woeful Butch and Sundance (in a Peckinpah world), and I love that the movie's nodding in those directions. There are plot twists and a good helping of pulpy dialog to keep things interesting, but this is one dark movie. Worth a watch? Absolutely.

7/10
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7/10
"Now A Lay Me Down to Sleep" !
whpratt12 August 2006
Had no idea just what type of film this was going to turn out to be, in the opening scenes there is a gal who used a complete dictionary of real foul language and I mean real bad, the guys tried to match her, but failed. This is a very interesting story about a gal who is supposedly having a child and is very pregnant (9 mos.) throughout the entire picture, this poor gal is Juliette Lewis,(Robin) who does fantastic acting. Robin has body guards protecting her during this pregnancy to make sure the concerned party receives the baby when delivered. There are also some bad dudes who try to interfere with the safety of Robin and one of the guys tells a story about how he prays the pray: "Now A Lay Me Down to Sleep I pray the Lord my Soul to take, if I should Die Before I Sleep, I Pray the Lord my Soul to Take", indicating this was the only pray he could pray. I found this quite strange, because this film is rather full of blood and gory, murder and plenty of killing. If you like a way out film with James Caan,(Joe Sarno) playing a real cool Cat, this is the film for you.
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6/10
A well staged gritty kidnap flick with limited appeal.
=G=6 January 2001
"The Way of the Gun" is a gritty, messy, bloody, dark kidnap B-flick in which the entire cast of characters is somewhere between wanton and downright evil. The film's plot is a twisty-turny convoluted kind of mess which asks more questions than it answers and may interest or even seduce viewers with an appetite for blood and guts crime films. The shootout scenes are fairly well staged, the script waxes philosophical in an ambiguous sort of way, and the movie does sort itself out in the end. Certainly not for everyone, this peculiar flick will find an audience among those with an appetite for the bizarre.
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It must be a faulty one.
MovieAddict201619 April 2004
"The Way of the Gun" is a motion picture far too heavy on style and less so on substance. Obviously inspired by the post-modern rampage of Quentin Tarantino, the director and screenwriter, Christopher McQuarrie, is much more interested in blood and guts than relying on his own story to carry the picture. I like action movies and "The Way of the Gun" bored me from beginning to end. I also like when action films happen to pick up the characteristics of generally smarter movies. I saw, heard, and felt no wit while watching "The Way of the Gun." What a mess.

The movie is raw and brutal and contains a fair emount of fierce energy, but to what good measure? Benicio Del Toro and Ryan Phillippe play the typically inept criminals who manage to kidnap a surrogate mother (Juliette Lewis) and more or less hold her for ransom. They travel past the border into Mexico where all hell breaks loose. The pregnant woman's child belongs to a powerful crime lord who is eager to have his child returned to him. Enter James Caan in a suitably uncomfortable role as the "laundry man" who tries to return the woman. The problem is that she doesn't want to be rescued. Many gritty Mexican shoot-outs follow.

The movie obviously takes some inspiration from John Ford's "The Searchers" and Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" with its reluctant heroine subplot. In "The Searchers" the point that the girl didn't want to be "saved" from the ruthless Indians was less subtle than in "Taxi Driver," which delivered the message more powerfully but yet equaled the other film's greatness (if not surpassed it). Jodie Foster, as Iris, didn't really want Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) to "free" her. Lewis does not want to be liberated in "The Way of the Gun" because she realizes what shall become of her child if she were to return home. This is an amusing moral dilemma but is not very convincing. Lewis once again overplays the screwball nature of her character, inadvertantly creating a strange hybrid of greed and unsatisfying ambiguity.

That's probably one of the biggest faults of the movie. We don't give much of a hoot for any of the characters in "The Way of the Gun." Benicio Del Toro literally stumbles his way through the scenes with a spaced-out look on his face, as usual, but at least in "The Usual Suspects" his character had some dialogue and came off, at the bare minimum, as an interesting individual. He's a very good actor but he needs to start expanding his reaches a bit more -- I have yet to see him play a character who looks like he is NOT on drugs.

Phillippe did not impress me with "Cruel Intentions" and he unfortunately did not impress me in "The Way of the Gun." The poor casting on his part is another one of the film's major miscalculations. Who in the world thought this kid could act?

Prior to crafting "The Way of the Gun" McQuarrie penned the script for "The Usual Suspects," which was clever because it knew how to juggle an engaging and mysterious story with overly-competent direction by Bryan Singer ("X-Men"). Had Singer directed "The Way of the Gun," the result might have been a much better movie. Had some serious casting changes been made and some revisions to the screenplay, I am convinced that this could have been a great motion picture. It just needed a few vital ingredients, most notably more likable and believable characters and less tired situations involving the same-old. What a waste of space.
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1/10
Tedious
CuriosityKilledShawn21 November 2000
Boy was I disappointed at this movie. This is the pits. Nothing happens in this film. Watching grass grow is more interesting. There was a little bit of gunplay at the start but for about 100 minutes all we get is a scene of dialogue, followed by a scene of dialogue, followed by a scene of dialogue, followed by a scene of dialogue, followed by a scene of dialogue, followed by a scene of dialogue and by this point I'm dying of sheer boredom.

Writer and Director McQuarrie tries to make up for this by having the last scene filled with noise and gunfire. It doesn't work. He also tries to make the (superficial) dialogue sound cool by having it said very, very quiet and muttered.

The photography is quite cool and some shots of the desert at night are great. But that's no reason to watch this awful mess. The only thing about this film that stopped me from walking out was the presence of Geoffrey Lewis. The scenes where he couldn't get his cell phone working were pretty funny to me.
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