Directed by: Albert Pyun
Starring: Christopher Lambert, Ice T, Michael Halsey, Kimberly Warren, Tina Cote
A crime organisation called The Syndicate "wins" the contract to build a new high security prison facility. Before officially handing it over to the city, however, crimelord Vincent Moon decides to use the place for his own means. He gathers all his lieutenants who have betrayed him or the Sydicate in the prison and forces them to hunt each other to the death. As an incentive, the final three survivors will be set free with a prize of ten million dollars. Will anyone survive long enough to walk away with the prize?
Made in the same year as Blast and Crazy Six, Mean Guns proves to be the best of the three Albert Pyun directed movies being released under the 101 Films' Cult banner, but that doesn't mean its particularly good...
The cast is quite decent. Among the unfaithful are Lou, an assassin psychologically damaged from the death of a child, Dee, a jaded ex CIA operative, Marcus, a British assassin and Barbie, a gangster's moll caught up in the mayhem. There are also Hoss and Crowe, partners who have a great repartee with each other, showing that not everything needs to be doom and gloom. And of course all are dressed in the traditional "assassin" garb of the time - long trench coats and lots of leather.
Director Albert Pyun definitely has artistic pretentions, and likes to experiment with his films. There are some attempts to present Mean Guns as some sort of Shakespearean tragedy, including a soliloquy by Ice T in the prologue. There are some weird red herrings, too - at one point, one of Vincent Moon's new security guards bares his teeth, showing he has vampire-like fangs, making you wonder exactly where this film is heading, only for it never to be come up again.
Mean Guns bores, entertains and frustrates with equal measure. Christopher Lambert and Kimberly Warren are both very good in their roles and the rest of the cast are pretty game. However there are long patches of dire dullness and some of the technical aspects of the film - the horrible soundtrack (Mambo music playing over intense fight scenes), the framing of some shots and the editing - really grate on your senses.
6 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)