Overview: It's no Shootfighter.
Directed By: Tom Logan, 1993
The Case For: One of the henchmen looks a lot like Michael Ironside, so if you're a big Michael Ironside fan you can just squint really hard while watching Shoot and pretend he's in it.
The Case Against: The plot makes so little sense that it can cause grand mal seizures. Features an even stupider portrayal of con artistry than Deadfall.
Shoot is basically Casino Royale meets The Sting meets a screenwriter with severe ADD who forgets every few minutes whether the film is about a secret casino, high society jewel heist, crooked cops, whimsical con artists, or Abe Vigoda and his recently deceased wife crossing "hang out at a dreary, boring nightclub until 4 AM" off their bucket list. Indeed, much like Casino Royale, the movie involves gambling; unlike Casino Royale, none of it makes any goddamn sense, and the only one weeping blood will be you (and any loved ones too stupid to abandon you immediately after you suggest watching this).
Actually, our alternate theory is that this movie was written and directed by space aliens who haven't mastered mimicking our culture and language just yet. Even the shortest of attention spans doesn't explain little details like someone ordering "club soda with an olive" at the bar, a drink which no creature that needs to consume liquids to survive would ever think of requesting. Or the cops who come up with "money" as the top-secret code word for sending someone undercover into a secret casino/illegal jewel auction (and then spend the whole stakeout debating whether words like "cash" or "moola" count as saying the code word). Or the underworld kingpin who likes to take his dates on crappy municipal park picnics and wrap them in his grandma's death shroud.
Suffice it to say that calling the plot of Shoot stupid would be the understatement of the year. This movie is as aggressively nonsensical as an Orson Welles/Bob Dylan rap battle. It's a rich, heady potluck stew of vaguely related crime and spy movie cliches, jumbled together and served with a side of terrible acting. All of the action revolves around a super-secret illegal casino, and yet there's not a single shred of plot point that actually involves a game of chance. Most of the movie is spent building up to an auction of a stolen pearl held in the casino that never happens.
Not that it's much of a casino we're missing out on, anyway. Certainly nobody is skipping the Riviera to drink in the heady atmosphere of "King's Ransom", a secret gambling parlor that looks so much like a shitty dilapidated Greek restaurant that they must comp their players ouzo and pita chips with tzatziki sauce instead of martinis to avoid confusing them. At least it has giant cardboard cards and poker chips all over the walls to remind you that you're gambling and not just having the world's most elaborate and dangerous Moussaka.
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Naturally, the shabby casino which is really tacky, boring and run-down is protected by a front nightclub with all the same appealing qualities. Who would've thought that the world's worst evil lair, worst dance club, worst casino, worst Greek restaurant, and worst auction house were all under the same roof? We can't remember what the nightclub is called because who the fuck cares, but it should be something like "Das Bar" or maybe "The Groggy Gulag". It has less vibrant decor and worse music than a bottom-shelf Warsaw nightclub before the Iron Curtain fell. Every baffling, maddening, disorienting room is like a crematorium for the human soul. For interior decorators, watching this must be like watching Schindler's List.
But hey, if you get tired of staring at blank walls and lethargically shuffling back and forth to Man Has Stroke With Pan Flute in D Minor (Techno Remixx), why not relax in the bar while a crazy lady blasts a 9000-watt camera flash directly in your face and then tries to sell you your picture on a shitty keychain? Oh, you don't like that last part? Well, too fucking bad, because she works there, maybe. And she lets them pay her in sparkling olive juice so good luck getting rid of her. Sure, you could just leave, but where else are you going to find a hip, depressing abandoned warehouse to drink Absolut alone in a corner in? Yes, Absolut, the one true vodka:
TOTAL WRECK - crazy-eyed hound is covered in cobwebs, has a vespiary on back, graffiti on side and savage thirst for boat fuel. Frankly, I'm in over my head. He's in room 115 at Motel 6, yours free. 555-2851
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
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