AR-15 11.5-inch, compensated with an ion bounded bolt carrier. A Kimber 1911 .45 ACP with reconstructed grips and flared magwell for easier reloads. The Benelli M4, custom bolt carrier release and charging handle. Glocks .34 and .26 with textured grips should your hands get…wet…
All and more are sexily depicted with equal parts casually familiar reverence and hard party arousal in this paean to vengeful brutality celebrating a favorite character type: the heavily-armed, well-groomed, infinitely-resourced survivor of impossible odds. I’m talkin about a retired, amoral, shoot-to-kill gun-for-hire master of his universe who doesn’t hesitate to blast away blindly through a fountain into a crowd at his adversary, it’s Keanu at his black-suited, highly-stylized, combat ready, emotionally-controlled, firearm-unleashed best, I Neo you not.
Fair enough, sure: the The Matrixes were more “weapon as tool” movies compared to the gun-fetishizing specifics of, say, the John Wicks. Sure, in both there’s gunsaplenty and a car crashes. The real difference between your average Keanufull movie may be… mm…….hold on…Aha: that in JW2 there’s a scene without guns that’s dialogue’s about guns.
Maybe there’s something similar in The Matrixes too, or three, hard to say. I happen to be in the rarified camp where Reloaded and Revolutions are far richer and more rewatchable than that first one. Yeah I said it. Trust me, there’s plenty. Nevertheless, or and anyway, what it is is a beautiful thing…
… on-screen gun violence, that is! The magnificence of the righteous shootout, the grisly satisfaction of a welcome assassination. That Peckinpahesque ballet of death by surprise hole. The savage wonder of the horizontal lead hail, the racking and clacking, the sheer unloading, the sound of the smell of gunpowder, yumyum, yum — I mean, I’m no gun nut. I don’t own a gun, much less many, and the little I’ve shot can hardly be called shooting … but I grew up with guns, surrounded by them as it were, you might say, from a certain point of view. I’d go so far’s to say the prop I’ve been exposed to most in my life is the good ol’ gat and its relatives.
What prop could possibly compete? The car maybe, if it’s a prop. Is the time? Perhaps the telephone. The computer is trying to catch up, but it started decades behind and is inherently less dramatic. Making a good go of it, tho, I’ll give that the computer. HOWEVER, as a victim of my gun times, my play and imaginings were naturally loaded with guns.
We shot and killed each other repeatedly, we did, those young I loved and hated and me, for formative years on end, when we weren’t running each other through with swords, or later lighting each other on actual fire and wrapping each other in actual materials. Later came poisons and betrayal, but then, as now, guns predominated.
When it came to gun control, the infantile reasons for our uncontrollable natural attraction to ol smokey, the ‘kick stick’ (Mr Bang Bang? you know who I mean) were as complex as society’s. I remember breaking us into groups just before the end of recess once to ask why we always wanted to play guns. One side was everyone for whom it was the idea of the sheer violent immediacy of the event that appealed to them, while the other was the sense of community they found around it. I broke us down further to who loved the sense of power that came with such power, and the rest of us who felt an overwhelming responsibility to that power. I concluded that overall it most likely can be called a combination of things, and that has tended to hold true. For example, for me these days it’s the idea of increasing my range of immediate influence crossed with my hatred for cans on fences.
Though the gun boner be semi in me, you don’t have to be Harlan Ellison to imagine the explosively alluring and psychologically distancing effect guns bestow on certain mentalities, those (statically often enough male as to be always) who seek an identity, or have a point of view, or feel neglected, or’ve been abused or raised by videogames or don’t care anymore or are ready to do some giving back or have never dealt with it, or want to be famous, or got bad meth, or were told by society that guns are where the cool shit happens and the coolest people usually know the value of an arsenal and if you have enough ammo you might be bulletproof, or at least bulletrepellent, or any of unknown-how-many other types and blends of reasons for simmering violence hair-trigger-ready to be triggered.
But enough about them. Despite the statistically rare homicidal maniacs who live their gun porn out loud, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, gun love. Lots of everyday people have, hold and love and use guns, and many others who’ve never picked one up love guns and are totally balanced people, not to mention together. Books and movies and music and plays are full of that all too human phenomenon of gun lust, as well as that of gun lust gone wrong… in fact, coincidentally, or not, one of those can be found at 1:31:35 of the John Wick 2 audio commentary featuring Mr.Reeves and the director….I’ll wait.
Whatever reaction those five seconds savoring the sound of a .45 elicit in the listener, what’s sure to remain universal is the persistent feeling of warm-gold-blanket trust in Keanu we all share. If trust is a stretch for you, try respect, re: vis a vis, going from popular yet reviled lucrative young “so-called” actor to universally adored superstar and respected human actor, with barely a little more range. You go ahead and do it if it’s so easy.
If that doesn’t make you think, it doesn’t matter, it kept you busy long enough for my people to go through your car, sucka.