If you wouldn't think twice about finding rap stars hanging out in a bar in the Amazon jungle, if you'd agree that a prudent way to make a recalcitrant prisoner talk is tying him upside-down from a helicopter and dunking him in the sea, if you'd pass it off as an adrenaline miracle that a Special Forces agent shot in the leg in one scene can karate-kick a villain to death in the next, then Gunmen is for you.
A low-budget, shoot-'em-up, cornball buddy flick, Gunmen stars Mario Van Peebles (Posse) as a New York cop out to get revenge on the South American drug dealer responsible for his father's death, and Christopher Lambert (Highlander) as a garrulous smuggler who likes to catch flies in his mouth. Van Peebles, who can't seem to keep his shirt buttoned, busts Lambert out of jail because the good bad guy, who's so potent that prostitutes straddle him to ride to orgasmic lather, has information vital to taking down the real bad guy -- a self-made widower in a wheelchair (Patrick Stewart, from Star Trek: The Next Generation).
Also prominent are double-crossing henchman Denis Leary (Judgment Night) and his sexy accomplice, Brenda Bakke (Hot Shots! Part Deux), whose biggest accomplishment is that she, unlike her male counterparts, stays clean-shaven under the most trying circumstances.
Director Deran Sarafian rips off the cliff-jumping scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the window-jumping scene from Lonesome Dove. He likes slow-motion and machine guns. He introduces Sally Kirkland's cameo via a bubble bath. A representative gag in Stephen Sommers' screenplay is mocking the curlicued Van Peebles as "a superhero who looks like Whoopi." An inside joke about jungle noises is directed at Lambert, who starred in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan.
And -- unbelievable as it sounds -- there really seems to be no irony intended when, after everything is over, Lambert's character, who is illiterate, says, "Let's have brunch."
Gunmen. Directed by Deran Sarafian. Starring Mario Van Peebles, Christopher Lambert, Denis Leary, Patrick Stewart and Brenda Bakke. Rated R. 90 minutes.
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