Detective Jones was told to play by the rules... Playing by the rules can get you killed.
Back of DVD:
Shotgun dispenses twelve-gauge justice with a double-barreled vengeance. It is a fast-paced ride through the sleazy, hardcore streets of L.A., as Max Billings and Ian Jones wade through sex, violence, guns and drugs to avenge a hooker's murder and bring down a kingpin of crime.
After my previous PM Entertainment endurance test, To The Limit starring Anna Nicole Smith, I had wanted to find another PM movie to restore my faith in the made-for-video action house. Thankfully in the post last night arrived this little gem that I had bought purely with the knowledge that it was a late 80's PM movie and one of their better ones. Boy was that an understatement!
The movie starts like all good 80's buddy-cop action movies do - with a catchy theme song. The lyrics name drop the title of the movie and also the name given to the lead protagonist (Ian Jones). Here's an excerpt:
You never burn out,From being busted,‘cause the shotgun of Jones,Is deadly justice.Shot-Gun! Shotgun! Jones!
A bunch of armed guys in suits and a man with a suitcase alight from a helicopter. They enter a typical makeshift office on a hill in Mexico somewhere and make an exchange; 2 million dollars for drugs. The guy with the suitcase, "Rocker" (David Marriott), like everyone else in Shotgun over-acts terribly (which is terribly awesome in this instance). Not content with the drugs, Rocker asks if he can buy the whole town. When refused, his armed compadres lay waste to the occupants then escape in their chopper. All the action sequences in this movie are accompanied by a waling guitar solo; it's so cool and so very bad-action, I love it. Rocker goes to see his boss the next day, a big shot lawyer with a campy accent. He is pleased with the takings and orders Rocker to set up 'operations' in the village he just wasted. Okay, that's the pre-setup taken care of.
Now for the setup. After being treated to a montage of adult stores, we see two cops (Stuart Chapin as Ian Jones and Rif Hutton as Max Billings - how cool is that name?) exit a dodgy LA strip-show theatre and get accosted by hookers looking to party. They return to their car and commence some sort of sting, probably trying to catch people picking up hookers; though they see a guy (Rocker) pick up a date but don't do anything about it, so not sure what they are trying to achieve here. Rocker takes the girl to a motel and excuses himself. As the girl is getting undressed, I burst out laughing: A man in complete S&M outfit - leathers, whip, bondage mask - enters the room, with a slow pan up form his feet to his head, over yet another wailing guitar solo. I died a little when I saw this. Probably the funniest thing I've seen in a while. He demands she keeps stripping, which she does, but he punches her in the head anyway! She says "If this is going to get rough it will cost extra" and he keeps laying into her. This is obviously a second man as Rocker is waiting outside. And this guy had a campy accent. I wonder who it could be.
The two cops get the call that a hooker has been bashed and attend the scene. I really have to re-emphasise the quality of the over-acting in Shotgun. Everyone acts like they are in a school play; they give it their all ALL of the time. The outfits the cast get around in as well are just as hilarious, as is Ian Jones's beard and ponytail. They go to the local porn shop to question the owner as he knows all the inner-workings of the seedy side of the city, apparently. Max Billings browses the video shelf whilst eating a very suggestive banana, and Ian Jones threatens the half-shirtless shop-owner for intelligence on the man responsible for the bashing. He tells them to "nail that son of a bitch". Then they go to a bar and question an old guy with a bushy white beard who tells them to "nail that son of a bitch". Then they go see one of the previous bashed girls, Sheri, who doesn't say "nail that son of a bitch", but she does take her top off and show them the wounds inflicted by the whip. Let me tell you they are pretty damn nasty.
Cut to a scene of white people dancing abhorrently in a disco being MC'd by a guy that seems to be listening to a different record to what everyone else is. Ian approaches a girl who is with Rocker (whom he doesn't recognise yet, only we the viewer do). It's his sister Rhonda who is also a hooker, which Ian doesn't take too kindly. She tells him to stop acting like a big brother and she takes her date away. You know what happens next: she gets beaten by the guy in leathers - only this time the beating was fatal. When Max arrives on the scene and tells Ian "she's dead" he calmly says "I need a drink".
Whilst having their many drinks the bar gets conveniently held-up and the bartender killed. The two cops don't budge from their seats and the robbers get pissed; "What about you two faggots? Wanna end up like the bartender?". Ian and Max simply pull out their badges and say "... Police", then unload 32 rounds into them! It's like that scene from Robocop almost!
Back 'down town' the two cops get chewed out by their Lieutenant for over-killing (hah!) the scene in the bar. The Lieutenant wants them off the case because they are 'too close' to it, what with the dead sister and all. He is convinced otherwise and Ian and Max go back to the white-people-dancing club and shove photos in everyones face. That's when Ian notices Rocker and beats the crap out of him then arrests him with this golden line: "You have the right to remain silent, and sweet Jesus you better use it." Rocker gets bailed out by his boss lawyer (that's right, the campy one) and the pair go and get drunk again. This is actually one of the funniest scenes in the movie for me because the acting of Ian and Max drunk is like kids pretending to be drunk to fit in with their older friends. You'll understand when you see it.
This movie owns. It is fantastic. There are so many good things in Shotgun I could go on all night and ruin the movie for you. I'll just summarise a few things to wet your appetite:
- Ian gets suspended from the force for six months for beating up an officer
- Ian becomes a shotgun-armed bounty hunter and arrests bail hoppers for cash
- Max makes Sergeant
- Max tells Ian the word on the street is he has a new nickname - Shotgun Jones (Shot-Gun! Shotgun! Jones!)
- Ian shoots a guy in the arse to which he yelps "You mother-fucker, you shot my asshole!"
- Ian chases Rocker on foot, who gets away in a car and knocks Ian into a pile of boxes
- Ian sees a friend in Mexico who helps him BUILD A FREAKING TANK, WITH MOUNTED MACHINE GUN, FLAMETHROWER AND ROCKET LAUNCHER
Just re-read that last sentence and think about how awesome that scene will be. It's everything as fantastic as you imagine. Just like the rest of this movie. It may have the worst acting possible and a by-the-books storyline, but it works where other movies have failed. Sure, some things don't make sense - the whole drug cartel in Mexico that isn't properly explained and Rocker protecting his bondage-brother - but who the hell cares. The bad-assedness of Ian and the guitar solos every time something cool happens make up for any misgivings. Shotgun is a true cult-classic bad-action movie and a milestone for PM Entertainment. Watch with friends.
Shot-Gun! Shotgun! Jones!
For a late-80's made-for-video movie, the picture quality on this is fine, if a little soft (the video issue in the screenshots is not evident when playing). I doubt it will ever look better. The sound is clear, though due to the budget of the movie sometimes when peoples backs are turned or they are in an echoey room the audio suffers. I reviewed the R2/R0 ILC Prime release. Runtime 85 minutes.
eBay UK for $1.87