Street Gun

· June 6, 2004

Street Gun
A Street Gun Named Desire.

The worst kind of bad movies are the ones that show promise, but never quite follow through. Street Gun is just such a film, though the promise in question certainly isn't in the hands of star Justin Pagel. Street Gun is moulded after many a classic crime story, and shares elements with films such as The Godfather, Once Upon A Time In America, The Third Man, and other classics. Unfortunately, it's in the same way that chimps share elements of their DNA with humans - one flings poo, and the other makes movies like Street Gun. Perhaps this wasn't the best analogy.

The story revolves around Justin Pagel as Joe Webster, a wannabe thief who drifted into crime in the search for something he could excell at, as he did when he was a boy. Dissatisfied with the ineffectual and amateur nature of his operation with his two partners in crime, Joe goes looking for a job with the local big boss, and after proving himself is giving the opportunity to work a major heist. Things, of course, go wrong.

Firstly, I should point out that there are some honest to goodness decent scenes in this movie. Joe's meeting with his father is excellent, as he is criticised for being unable to stay in a job or succeed as a criminal. "Do you want some gas money, for the getaway car?" mocks his Webster senior at one point. Unfortunately, that relationship is never returned to, and the parallel relationship between the crime boss and his son is also not explored, which is a shame as the potential is clearly in the script for it. There is a pretty good stunt sequence as well, with Joe escaping from the FBI by clinging to the back of a truck, and leaping off of a bridge when the truck is finally stopped. The opening robberies are also fairly amusing, by Hollywood DVD standards.

In fact, there are plenty of areas where the film sounds like it could go in an interesting direction. The continued talk about the power of computers, the nature of the relationships between father and son, the clash between moving forward with your life and career and losing touch with your friends, and honour and family among thieves are all touched upon, but never really expanded. This just leaves the film messy and discontinuous, as it dives off into short tangents that are never rolled back into the main story line. On the other hand, at times the movie leaps forward so fast, it's hard to tell exactly what's going on. Characters are brought in and killed off, motivations and characterisations flip-flop, and fairly slow contemplative rooftop scenes are interjected with high violence actions scenes. It's like a Vin Diesel movie, but without any budget or the raft of good supporting actors.

The director hasn't worked on anything else since Street Gun, and in fact neither have most of the actors. This is a shame, as I think it would tough on anyone to always have Street Gun as the last film they made.