Director: Simon West
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Olga Kurylenko, Ben Cura
Watch Gun Shy online in the UK: Netflix UK / iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Google Play
Like many respected actors, Antonio Banderas is a man not unwilling to do something for a paycheque. Yes, he will star in much more “worthy” films from time to time, but he is a man well-versed with slumming it, and seems to have a good time when doing so. A perfect case in point is Gun Shy, a film that, on paper, essentially looks like monkeys hammering away at typewriters as he plays an ageing hair metal rocker (apparently English, despite the use of his natural accent), who has to rescue his kidnapped wife with the help of a small child who keeps supplying him with beers. Also, David Mitchell is in it for maybe a minute but gets an ‘and’ credit. Told you, monkeys with typewriters…
That the film is a mess is no real surprise, but there is joy to be had within, as Banderas genuinely plays the hell out of a rock star, all ego and stupidity, but also retains a sweet edge throughout – it’s clear throughout that he loves his wife and, through the course of the film, understands how much. Not that the film has high drama or overwhelming emotion, but Banderas gives his all to a production that frankly looks like it cost £50,000.
Simon West is a perfectly competent action director but one thing that shows here is that he maybe isn’t able to work within the confines of a smaller budget. There is zero scale to the film, set in rather beautiful environs in Chile but seemingly shot for the vast majority of its runtime within the same resort and beach complex in the middle of winter, with drab cinematography – a bizarre lack of extras throughout further adds to the budget holiday feel.
What action there is to be had is lacking: Banderas rides a suitcase down a hilly street at one point and he gets chased by someone on a pedalo towards the end; West doesn’t do anything to inject any real sense of dynamism to it, but Banderas again seems like he’s trying. The supporting cast all seem to understand the ‘lets all go on a jolly’ mood to the piece, although Olga Kurylenko is hampered by the fact that she has to be the straight woman against most of those she’s acting alongside – while very active in the film’s proceedings, it would have been good to see her have some fun.
The result is rubbish, but it’s watchable rubbish. Think of it as the Geostorm of direct-to-video Antonio Banderas action comedies. Admit it: there’s part of you intrigued by that, isn’t there?
Gun Shy is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.
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