This is the Best High Speed Low Drag tactical orientated Movie That You Have Probably Never Seen
I almost passed on buying The Way of the Gun when I first saw it in the PX a while back, I am not a fan of Ryan Phillippe and Juliette Lewis is the most annoying actress in the world.
But because of the cool title and the fact that my-man Benicio del Toro was in it I snatched it off the rack and slammed it in my basket while angrily looking the other way.
All I can say is thank god Benicio was in it because The Way of the Gun ended up becoming my all time favorite crime flick. It was written/directed by Academy Award winning writer Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and was the first and only movie he ever directed.
It has an ensemble cast that centers around the main characters 'Mr. Parker' and 'Mr. Longbaugh' (who here knows the significance of these names?) who are two clever outlaws looking for the big score.
You may think that would make The Way of the Gun just another a Crime Thriller, but it has several elements that you usually don’t see in action flicks that makes this movie really stand out - especially if you are into tactical stuff and guns.
Warning: Everything below is a spoiler
no “good guys” – Everyone is a bad guy
One of my biggest problems with action/crime flicks these days is they always have to have at least one character with some sort of redeeming quality. Well not in this movie, every single person is ether straight-up an outlaw or has an agenda that only benefits themselves.
While writing this movie the writer/director said this about developing the characters: "the first thing I did was to write a list of every taboo, everything I knew a cowardly executive would refuse to accept from a 'sympathetic' leading man"
I wish more Hollywood writers would do the same, if you think about it the most popular movie characters are always the bad guys.
This is the first thing that caught my eye when I was watching this, in most action or crime flicks you pretty much expect everyone to eventually jump over a car with two Berettas wile screaming “GET SOME!”.
Not in this movie, Parker and Longbaugh work together like highly trained and experienced operators. In the first action scene you see Parker and Longbaugh execute a “peel” (dramatized for film, but still nicely performed) when withdrawing from a Mexican standoff.
You also see them do two man room clearing, use a “bump” (picture above), do a one handed reload while wounded, work together as sniper and spotter, clear a Stove Pipe, do brass checks, use suppressing fire and a bunch of other cool shit that the average viewer would never notice.
They also use tactical gear like side squeeze clip releasable single point slings, dump pouches, nylon duty belts, 3 point shotgun slings, body armor and DeSantis inside the waistband holsters.
After listening to the commentary I found out that the writer/directors brother is a former Navy SEAL (he is the guy they tell to “use the bushes” in the truck stop bathroom scene). Ahhhhh… that pretty much explained it all, he trained up Ryan Phillippe and Benicio del Toro for the film, bought all of the tactical gear and choreographed the action scenes.
Realistic portrayal of Executive Protection Agents (sort of)
The two other main characters are “Jeffers” (Taye Diggs) and “Obecks” (Nicky Katt) who both portray EP Agents. Usually in movies bodyguards are portrayed in a fantastical way (like in 'The Bodyguard') completely omitting even basic EP techniques.
They weren’t right on the money with the portrayal of EP Agents, but it is the closest I have ever seen in a movie. Jeffers and Obecks use the 'wedge' (a common EP formation), are trained in counter surveillance and generally act like professional EP Agents.
The selection of guns in this movie was really well done, each firearm totally matches the characters personality.
The Old School bagmen carry snub nosed revolvers, the EP guys carry H&K USP’s, the sissy doctor has a Walther PPK and the Mexican whorehouse owner packs an old Browning Hi-Power.
And Parker and Longbaugh's guns… well, that’s the fun part.
Parker and Longbaugh’s Guns:
This is where the directors’ brother really shines again, the guns Parker and Longbaugh use are all logical and down to earth selections. You won’t see tricked out M-4’s or silly machine pistols here – only ‘meat and potatoes’ guns.
You also wont see people fire out 68 rounds without reloading, bravo to the directors’ brother, you did a hot-shit job of selecting guns for this flick.
M1911 Colt Pistols
Parker and Longbaugh both carry the 1911, this isn’t the sexiest handgun out there, but when you watch the movie these guys just seem like the sort who would choose the 1911 over a Glock.
And because they only work together without any sort of back-up, it is just good tactical sense for them to both carry the same gun (also for financial reasons given their limited resources).
Parker also carries a Colt Commander in addition to his full sized 1911, another example of good tactics (having a back up that uses the same magazines as you main sidearm).
They carry their 1911’s in DeSantis IWB holsters cocked and locked. Little details like using inside the waistband holsters with 1911’s on Condition One are some of the things that really make this movie shine for firearm enthusiasts.
The IMI Galil in 7.62x51mm NATO
The fact they use the 7.62x51mm and not the 5.56x45mm Galil just shows us again the thought the directors’ brother put into selecting guns this film.
Parker and Longbaugh use the Galil as a dual purpose weapon (probably due to financial reasons) - as a sniper system and as a primary weapon. So choosing a 7.62x51mm Galil makes sense, especially for a 2 man team that has to choose only one rifle.
The shoot-out where Longbaugh is sniping dudes out using the Galil while Parker is spotting for him is one of my favorite scenes in the movie. When watching that scene note how the report comes after the bullet impact.
The directors’ brother choosing the 870 is another weapon choice that makes sense when you consider the characters background. Parker and Longbaugh both use the 870 but it seems to be the preferred choice for Parker (with a 3-point sling).
In the first shoot out you see Longbaugh clear a stove pipe and then continue to return fire, I thought that was a nice touch.
The best opening scene in a movie ever, period.
This is the one thing I wont ruin for you just in case you haven’t seen this movie yet - because it is so awesome. Sarah Silverman is way funny, her role couldn't have been played by another actress.
I watch this scene whenever I feel sad as a ‘pick me up’
I could literally go on for 20 pages about all the little things that made this such a great movie for guys like us. But in the interest of keeping the article at a reasonable length I forced myself to cut it short.
I also used some terms that not everyone here will understand, that is usually a big no-no when writing articles (for all the authors here). But I didn’t want to have huge chunks of text in-between parentheses explaining everything.
So if you don’t understand a term used in this article please feel free to ask about it in the comments.
Man I love this flick, I am going to watch it again right now.
~James G Founder - Editor in Chief
James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and watching The Way of the Gun over and over again.