Film Review: Gun Shy

Antonio Banderas hams it up in this dumber than dumb action-comedy that always reaches for the lowest hanging fruit for laughs.
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Every once in a while, a movie arrives that’s so insanely ludicrous you wonder how it could possibly come into being. While there are a lot of crazy things about Gun Shy, possibly the craziest is that it’s based on a novel called Salty by Mark Haskell Smith. One presumes the title was changed to one that makes even less sense merely to protect the innocent author who never envisioned his novel being turned into whatever this was meant to be.

Antonio Banderas is aging rock star Turk Henry, who has been in a funk since leaving his band Metal Assassin after having a big hit, only for them to have greater success without him. Turk and his supermodel wife Sheila (Olga Kurylenko) take a vacation in Chile, but when she goes off on her own, she’s kidnapped by Chilean rebels who want a million dollars in cash as ransom. Since the British government won’t negotiate with what they consider “terrorists,” Turk is forced to go off on his own to rescue Sheila, only to have government agent Ben Harding (Mark Valley) steps in and confiscate Turk’s money for himself.

If Gun Shy’s plot sounds familiar, it may be that it’s very similar to the one used in the recent Amy Schumer-Goldie Hawn comedy Snatched, and no surprise, this is equally awful.

It’s doubtful anyone could ever believe Banderas as the singer in a metal band, let alone one pretending to be British, as he gives his most over-the-top comic performance in a career full of them. For much of the film, Banderas wears a ratty wig and heavy makeup while cavorting in nothing but a rainbow-colored bathrobe, as if he’s the lost love child of Steven Tyler from Aerosmith. It also keeps cutting back to flashbacks of Turk’s previous excessive life as a rock star, which also seems hard to fathom.

As bad an idea as it might have been to put Banderas in such an implausible role, he’s by no means the worst part of the movie. The story keeps introducing even worse characters like a sexist Australian commando named Clive Muggleton (Martin Dingle Wall), called upon to help rescue Sheila. This character is so awful and irritating with his sexist remarks you instinctively need to switch off your brain any time he’s onscreen.

Kurylenko’s Sheila eventually gets a case of Stockholm syndrome towards one of her kidnappers (Ben Cura), and their scenes together end up being far more palatable than anything else in the movie.

Gun Shyis a movie that deliberately straddles the line of bad taste to the point where you’re watching the whole thing with your jaw dropped that it’s all being done for laughs. It never really delivers, instead piling more garbage on top of this already bad premise—there’s nowhere to go but down.

Director Simon West has a fair share of bad movies under his belt, but he has also directed some decent action films like Con Air. Unfortunately, Gun Shy lands on the negative side of his film ledger.

There’s a good chance everyone involved with this movie had a great time making it, but with very little regard that anyone might have any fun watching it. Mercifully, the movie is less than 90 minutes, or so it seems… Just as it comes to end in a perfectly reasonable place, the end credits start rolling, and we get a series of extra scenes. At first, they seem like outtakes that weren’t deemed worthy of the main movie, but they’re actually a continuation of the story with a couple of semi-fun music-videos of Banderas performing some of Turk’s greatest hits. (“Teenage @$$ Patrol” is destined to be a classic.)

In other words, the movie tries its best to keep you watching rather than following your first instinct, which is to run screaming from the theatre.

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