Some of the secondary actors try, really hard. And camera shots in the desert are quite lovely. Otherwise, this film is horrible.
William Shatner's character, Harvey, is an amateur screenwriter. He's also a psychopath, a man who quite literally escapes from a mental institution. Is the point of this film that amateur screenwriters are psychopaths? Harvey will do anything to get his script read and turned into a movie, even if that means taking a film crew hostage. Do amateur screenwriters ... grovel? Maybe they do.
The film's setup is way too long. We don't get to the point of the story until well into the second half. The first half darts and flits among assorted characters.
"Shoot Or Be Shot" is touted as a comedy, but I found it totally not funny. Dialogue contains no subtext. None of the characters are believable as real people. They're all stick figures that perform "action" in a way that resembles cartoon characters. Indeed, the film is basically a cartoon for adults: silly, inane, birdbrained.
I can understand why some actors are in this film. They need the money or the exposure. But what are insiders Shatner and Harry Hamlin doing here? Maybe Shatner wants more comedy roles. Is this the best he can do? Is Hamlin that desperate for money? He used to be a respected actor. What happened?
Even though the story is supposed to be a satire, it comes across more as a put-down of amateur screenwriters. Maybe that wasn't the intent. But that's certainly how the film can be interpreted. As such, the script was very, very poorly written.
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