GUNMEN is another of those buddy-buddy movies that were all the rage in the early '90s after the success of the LETHAL WEAPON films. This is probably one of the most undistinguished and easiest forgotten films of that sub-genre, but what the heck, I liked it anyway. The whole reason this movie is entertaining is solely down to the casting of Christopher Lambert and Mario Van Peebles, who have one of the best double acts I've seen in a movie. The script, by MUMMY director Stephen Sommers, wisely focuses on the natural humour between the pair and because they're having a ball, the viewer does too.
The story is nothing new: the hunt for an elusive boat, which becomes ultimately pointless by the climax anyway. It's just an excuse to have Peebles and Lambert being hunted through various types of terrain and gunning down villains at every opportunity. The action isn't even particularly inspired, following the '90s template of 'blow everything up', and there's little attempt at style here.
But I digress. Lambert is hilarious, the funniest I've seen him, playing a slightly unhinged criminal type whose laugh is completely infectious. He's a winner on good will alone, but Peebles rises to the challenge and equals him as the sterner one of the pair. There's a fine supporting cast, too, with most performances geared towards the comedic: Denis Leary, as an icy head honcho bad guy; Patrick Stewart, as a crippled crime boss; Kadeem Hardison as the comedy relief pilot; B-movie regular Brenda Bakke as a femme fatale. Still, in the end this film belongs to Lambert and Peebles. They have tons of good routines together, with the highlight being the 'first aid kit' trade-off towards the end. Still makes me chuckle just thinking about it.