June 13, 2017

Revisiting Mean Guns (1997)

Mean Guns hits 20 years of age this November but I just picked up the DVD a few weeks ago so I’m doing an article now instead as the movie is still fresh in my head.

Albert Pyun has always been one of the more interesting independent filmmakers out there with movies like Cyborg, Nemesis and many more under his belt, he always had an eye for something a little different.

Mean Guns was more of a standard action movie in terms of story but it manages to feel unlike anything you’ve seen before; with it’s bizarre choice of mambo music as the score and a bodycount in the double digits the film remains compellingly odd.

It tells the story of a gangster called Vincent Moon (Ice-T) who has a list of about 100 people who work for an organisation known as The Syndicate and have screwed up at one point or another. Rather than outright killing them, he decides to have a little fun by putting all of them together in a high security prison, unarmed, and dumping bucketfuls of guns, ammo, and baseball bats on them and letting them kill each other. The final three who survive are given a prize of 10 million dollars.

The cast includes Christopher Lambert and Michael Halsey who are part of this group and you are never quite sure who is good or bad. Lambert’s character Lou shows up and is there purely by choice for his own personal reasons. At the start you are convinced that he is going to be the hero because he’s Christopher Lambert but in actual fact it’s really Marcus who seems to be the good guy… or is he?

So it has all kinds of crazy shoot-outs and punch ups with a strange visual style where it almost looks like it’s all a dream sequence. It only adds to the film’s weirdness and that’s the one thing I keep saying any time I watch it: “What an odd film this is”. The music gets a little annoying after a while (sorry, but I hate mambo) and it does take a little while to get going but I really enjoy the build up.

Mean Guns also has a wacky sense of humour; the two guys randomly dancing in the elevator always makes me smile and there are several frankly surreal moments which keeps you watching.

Ice-T is always an entertaining villain and he’s particularly mean (thus the title) in this movie but it’s not really until the final 5 minutes when we see who the survivors will be and who the real heroes and villains are. 

It is still a little too long and a few moments probably could have been cut for pacing reasons but after (nearly) 20 years Mean Guns is still an entertaining little oddity which fans of B movie cinema will lap up.

About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel
I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it's a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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  • Mucho Macho

    “The Crow” is also a great 90s movie with a great soundtrack. I have it as well. Great moody sentimental songs in it. The sequels sucked & the reboot thats been trying to get of the ground for years will capture the magic of the original.
    Btw.. tell your friend to watch “Judgment Night” , what’s the matter with him?!

    Good pick😎👍

  • David Barber

    I had a pal who owned the soundtrack. But he never watched the film. Sounds great. Jeremy Piven did a great job as the nervy, cowardly mate of theirs who pays a heavy price. I have the soundtrack album to The Crow. That is another classic ’90s action thriller.

  • Mucho Macho

    “Judgement Night” is indeed great. By the way I still have the soundtrack to this day. It has a great & rare blend of hard metal and rap. It had unique collaborations like Cypress Hill and Pearl Jam, Slayer and Ice-T and In Living Colour with Run DMC.
    I still recommended as a great workout record or just something to get you in the mood for something exercise-related.

    But judgment night is indeed great , it’s a kick ass movie

  • David Barber

    Mine too. Lots of action, only one setting and loads of swearing and bullets. Like a B movie version of Die Hard but with gangstas and gold.

  • David Barber

    Judgement Night is another great gangland action thriller from the director of Predator 2 and starring Emilio Estevez.

  • Mucho Macho

    New Jack City
    Surviving the game ( deserves more popularity )
    & many more.
    Btw..” Leprechaun in Da Hood” is B straight to video gold 😂📼

  • Eoin Friel

    Trespass is a personal favourite.

  • Mucho Macho

    There are some great action movies in Ice T’s filmography

  • Mucho Macho

    I remember when this premiered back on HBO in primetime when they had premieres of action B movies like this. It’s a cool B movie.
    Really sad what HBO mostly has become. I don’t even think The Sopranos would be on the network today.