The Weekend Rent: A 'Squad' of Antigun Movies... with Guns!

The Weekend Rent: A 'Squad' of Antigun Movies... with Guns!

Jan 11, 2013

Gangster Squad—a period gangster piece starring Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Pena, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone and more—should have opened in theaters months ago. Instead, due to the shooting in the Aurora, Colorado theater during which many people died, Warner Bros. ordered reshoots on Gangster Squad to remove a scene featuring a shootout in a theater. Now—following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre—the studio has released the movie in theaters and, according to Rotten Tomatoes at least, it has landed with a thud.

There is a charged debate going on right now between the White House, which wants to impose stricter gun laws, and the NRA, which wants to protect our Second Amendment right to bear arms. In Hollywood, it's easy to find a movie that glorifies guns—almost every movie rated PG-13 or higher does. It's a little more challenging to find movies with an antigun message. Since Gangster Squad went scrambling to find a more sensitive (?) way to show gun violence, we thought we'd dig up some gun-questioning flicks for the Weekend Rent.

Lethal Weapon 4: The hell, you say. Well, despite the fact that Mel Gibson and Danny Glover take out a lot of bad guys with guns in the four Lethal Weapon movies and the fact that just a casual Google image search for "Lethal Weapon" brings up a smattering of pictures of the two leads with firearms, franchise director Richard Donner has a lot of antigun propaganda in Lethal Weapon 4. For example, there is a poster in plain view of "NRA" with a giant red slash through it in the police station as Gibson and Glover stand in front of it. In giant red letters, you can read "A child a day is killed by a handgun."

Avatar: It's the military vs. scientists in James Cameron's sci-fi adventure that features human invaders bullying the planet Pandora's native Na'vi with its mighty artillery. The highest-grossing movie of all time has antigun sentiments sprinkled throughout: Jake Sully's brother was killed by "a guy with a gun" who ended his "journey;" Sigourney Weaver's Dr. Grace Augustine character at one point says, "One idiot with a gun is enough;" and a soldier sneers to a scientist that he isn't a man if he can't handle a gun.

The Brave One: Erica Bain (Jodie Foster) and her fiancé, David (Naveen Andrews), are walking home in Central Park when they are attacked by three violent criminals and David is killed. Unwilling to wait a month for approval to buy a gun, Erica acquires a pistol illegally and becomes a vigilante that guns downs random criminals as she tries to track down the thugs that killed her fiancé. In the making-of featurette on the DVD and Blu-ray, Foster said she wanted it to seem as if the gun itself was making her do it.

Bowling for Columbine: You can't get more antigun than this 2002 documentary in which Michael Moore explores why the United States' violent crime rate is higher than other countries after the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. A montage of antigun footage is shown to the tune of the Beatles' "Happiness Is a Warm Gun," followed by Moore making a controversial visit to NRA then-president Charlton Heston. Bowling for Columbine won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

Shoot 'Em Up: You wouldn't think a movie with this title starring Clive Owen as a gun-toting drifter would be antigun. In the film's most memorable scene, Owen pumps lead into a bunch of thugs that break into his hotel room while he continues to make love to Monica Bellucci—all around the room. Still, there is much talk by the antagonists that worry about a new president repealing the Second Amendment and, toward the very end, Owen's Mr. Smith character is taunted with the revelation that an illegally sold firearm was used to kill his wife and son. Somehow Shoot 'Em Up becomes a bizarre antigun commercial.

All of the movies listed above are available on DVD and Blu-ray except Bowling for Columbine, which is only available on DVD. The movies can also all be found on various VOD services. So what is another antigun movie that you remember seeing? Sound off below.

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