Mean Guns (1997)

(On VHS, September 1999) Nifty premise, meandering execution. A hundred various criminals are locked inside a high-tech prison. The prize? The three survivors get ten million dollars. Buckets of guns and bullets rain down on the initial hundred, and the fun begins. What follows is, roughly, a non-stop firefight barely interrupted by some half-hearted character development. Think of The Killer, though without emotional content and without John Woo’s superb eye for pulse-pounding action sequences. A cheerfully subversive mambo soundtrack is bound to bring a grin to your lips. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the only cool or funny thing in the film, despite the darkly comic potential of the story. This film would have been a first-class classic in the hands of Woo or Robert Rodriguez. Christopher Lambert and Ice-T both shine in roles we completely expect them to play as they do. A pure B-movie worth a look on late-night TV.

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