Going to school in indefatigable style on Ice Cube’s lessons of crossover career management and branding, rapper and erstwhile drug dealer 50 Cent has transformed himself into a peddler of not only music and ring-tones, but also water, fitness supplements and, of course, movies. Ergo, the market for something like Gun, a slickly shot weapons-trafficking actioner that brings nothing terribly new to the table, but does at least go through the motions with energy and a streamlined clarity of purpose.
The movie unfolds in Detroit, and director Jessy Terrero — working from a script by his star, actually — uses that fact, in ways both nakedly transparent and occasionally sincere, to pump up the film’s zeitgeist quotient. Gun-runner Rich (50 Cent) and his crew oversee a vast arms-laundering operation, in part by purchasing stolen, illegal and otherwise “hot” weapons on the cheap from pawn shops, and turning around and selling them on mark-up. They terrify the populace with their aggressive violence, as characterized by an opening in which some rivals are flushed out of a nightclub and mowed down in the middle of the street.
When Rich’s old friend and fellow criminal Angel (Val Kilmer), who 10 years earlier saved his life in a gun-and-drugs exchange gone bad, drifts back into his life, Rich welcomes Angel back into the fold, which makes his longtime henchmen paranoid and on edge. Things get worse when it becomes obvious there’s a snitch in the group, and
two local detectives (James Remar and Paul Calderon), working both the case itself and trying to fend off the territorial-investigative advances of the ATF, start closing in.
Unsurprisingly, Gun has swagger to spare, a result of its star’s sly charisma, as well as some savvy casting in bit parts (including Danny Trejo). But Kilmer works in subversive fashion to give the movie a more settled sense of reality, and his interactions with 50 Cent really help ground the film, to the extent that anything surprising happens within the confines of its who’s-the-rat? storyline. Otherwise, apart from some fine, saturated work by cinematographer Zeus Morand, there’s about what one would expect here — lots of bravado, agitated cops tired of being handcuffed by legal boundaries, and some characteristically ridiculous “gangsta” discharging of firearms. Oh, and the requisite sex scene is discreetly shot so as to save AnnaLynne McCord (a ringer for a young Rene Russo) from any wildly embarrassing screen-caps, though Mr. Cent (billed here in hybrid fashion as Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson) does bare his butt, which I’m sure is of interest to someone.
Housed in a regular snap-shut Blu-ray case, Gun comes to the format presented in 1080p high definition, in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is truly superb, actually, free of any edge enhancement, blocking or other artifacts, and characterized by hard-edged clarity throughout. Sound is delivered via a DTS-HD 5.1 master audio track. While certainly serviceable throughout, the mix levels here seem a bit off, or perhaps just marred by typical disproportionate genre leveling; gunshots and explosions are given a ridiculous decibel bump that will as often as not have one reaching for their remote control. Optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles are also available, and the film is partitioned by a dozen chapter stops under a motion-enabled main menu screen. Apart from an inclusion of the movie’s trailer, however, there are unfortunately no supplemental bonus features contained herein. To purchase the Blu-ray disc via Amazon, click here; to purchase the film via iTunes, meanwhile, click here. C (Movie) C (Disc)