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  • Man! That Sam Jones is amazing! Here, as Mike Braxton, he's a rogue cop who gets a call for help from his brother. When he responds, he finds that his brother is dead and his brother's girlfriend is shot right before his eyes. He gets drunk in the killer's bar, insults him, falls into a lawyer's car and assume that she wants him - square jaw, tight jeans and all. Too right! So they jump in her car again and try to escape from killers armed with an impressive arsenal. Let's hope he doesn't graze his knee or bruise that handsome face.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Mike Braxton (Jones) is a rough-and-tumble St. Louis cop who is distraught after his partner dies during the course of what they initially believed was a routine investigation. But Braxton soon discovers his problems are about to get much bigger. His brother, Tony Braxton (Cassavetes), who we believe had a hit with "Un-break My Heart", gives Mike a desperate call from L.A. and tells him he's in deep trouble. It seems Tony was involved in illegal plutonium trafficking, and now the goons of the nefarious Simon Stone (Russell) are after him. Mike comes to L.A. and all hell breaks loose, with Stone unleashing his arsenal of goons on the unkillable cop, such as Frank (Halsey), Leon (Tarkington), and Joey (Stark), among others. Meanwhile Mike has to protect Samantha Richards (Williams) from the flying bullets and rocket launchers. Will they get out from UNDER THE GUN? Find out today… Not to be confused with Under The Gun (1995), starring, and we quote the DVD box, the "likable action star Richard Norton", THIS Under The Gun also features a likable action star, in this case Sam Jones. In the pantheon of 80's action stars, we would rank the coolness of hair as follows: 1. Michael Dudikoff 2. Dolph Lundgren 3. Sam Jones. Having the third coolest hair of the 80's action stars is no mean feat. (Feel free to leave a comment if you disagree with/want to add more to this list). Mike Braxton is the type of man who doesn't back down from a fight, and there are plenty of cool action bits to keep fans entertained.

    The baddies seem to have a larger-than-usual proclivity towards rocket launchers, which we certainly applauded, and Sam Jones gets some nice "hero shots" which cast him in a very valiant light. By contrast, Vanessa Williams plays the classic "complaining woman" and isn't that likable. This clichéd role/performance was unfortunate and hurt the movie, but not enough for us to not recommend it. The sax/wailing-guitar soundtrack was entirely appropriate to the proceedings, and the fact that the illegal plutonium is being transported in a Robotech lunchbox adds to the interest, especially for 80's fans like us.

    And that's just the thing, there were so many movies like this on the video store shelves of the 80's and 90's, it seems Under The Gun got lost in the shuffle. But the whole thing is well-paced and entertaining, so we can chalk up another winner to Sam Jones, one of the more reliable names of the day. This one only enhances his reputation. Featuring the catchy and energetic songs "Talkin' Bout Love" by Debra Laws and "Paralyzed" by Brenda Reierson, despite a couple of minor flaws, we can put Under The Gun in the winner's circle.
  • "Under the Gun" is a stupid, straight-to-video action movie that manages to be slightly more entertaining than expected because it's stupider than the usual stupid, straight-to-video action movie. Sam J. Jones is Mike Braxton, a Chicago cop on disciplinary leave, who gets a call for help from his ne'er do well brother (Nick Cassavetes) out in L.A.—a call made too late as the phone booth (remember those?) Mike's brother is calling from gets pushed off an overpass with him inside. When Mike shows up in L.A., he confers with his late brother's girlfriend, who resembles a pre-nose job Paula Jones. She gives him a couple leads for investigating his brother's death before she, too, is killed. It turns out Mike's bro was working for Simon Stone (John Russell), a restaurateur /black market arms dealer. Simon's rap sheet doesn't include murder – that is, until he procures some plutonium. When the buyer of the plutonium (Chris Mulkey, making almost a subliminal appearance) reneges on the deal, suddenly EVERYONE even remotely connected with the deal must die, including Mike's brother, the brother's big-nosed girlfriend, Mulkey, and all the guests at Mulkey's home. Mike is quickly added to Simon's hit list, and when he joins forces with Simon's lawyer (well, the assistant to Simon's lawyer) Samantha (Vanessa Williams), she also is slated for killing. Lots of gunfire, car chases and explosions ensue. Stone's men are so eager to off Mike and Samantha they break out a rocket launcher in a parking garage. Fortunately for the villains, no one else in L.A. appears to notice, least of all the cops, who only show up to give Mike a hard time for meddling in their investigation.

    It's pretty ridiculous, even by straight-to-video-action-movies-titled- "Under the Gun" standards. Still, this could just as easily have been a vehicle for Steven Seagal or, with some kick-boxing added, Jean Claude Van Damme. But instead it stars Sam J. Jones, whose career at this point was running on the rapidly dissipating fumes left in the wake of the camp classic "Flash Gordon," a role that seemed to generate more interest in Jones' 1975 Playgirl pictorial than catapult him to the top of the A-list (Jones' nude modeling past might explain why he gets a gratuitous shower scene in "Gun"). Conversely, Vanessa Williams was at this time busy trying to move on from her Penthouse magazine scandal and establish herself as an actress and singer (no nude scenes for her, thank you). While Jones and Williams don't generate much heat as a romantic couple, they do have chemistry as a crime-fighting duo and are actually fun to watch. They know what caliber movie they're in and often wear expressions that say, "Can you believe this s---?" On the other hand, hollow-cheeked John Russell, in his last role before his death in 1990, approaches his part with the gravity of a casket salesman. Appearing as members of Simon Stone's squad of ruthless-but-incompetent goons are Rockne ("Black Samson") Tarkington and Don Stark, better known as Donna's dad from "That '70s Show."

    This is not a movie that's worth seeking out, but if you happen across a copy of it at a garage sale it's worth a dollar--though I'd still try to talk the seller down to 50 cents.
  • Another one of those no brainer action pics, but with action aplenty, there's hardly any time to take a rest. We have a new hero too. Sam, (wooden actor/Flash Gordon) Jones whose performance here is nothing spectacular either. He is a likable hero though and has a likable presence too, you'll definitely be rooting for this guy. Jones, a Saint Louis cop, is suspended after using excessive force, a.k.a retribution, after his partner's shot. His problems are about to get worse, when his brother, Tony (Cassavettes, yeah, real actors now) is slain and guess how, is something you've gotta see. Tony was merely a patsy, an innocent led sort of character, that Nick plays well. He was working with some bad guys, the boss, his front, a restaurant, is involving in making big bucks off selling, yes platonium, this time to a crazed colonel (Bill Mckinney who we meet near the end). Our boss, Simon Stone, doesn't care who has to be wasted either, including his sexy lawyer, Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty), who teams up with Jones, when they start to become the hunted. Frank, a Mick Jagger talking sort of guy, with looks to match too, though this guy is easily better looking, (music and it's affect on people, huh?) is Stone's protector, where him and his henchman take out a partner and an entire mob, including some sunbathing beauties, when this deal go sour in a scene of gunfire that's spectacularly cool. This flick, with it's servings fire and blasting rockets, is one of those dumber than dumber action flicks, where the script sounds as though it was made up as it went along. Two stupid bits I'll mention, is when Jones and Williams are running from the baddies in his office, where Jones is about to use the fire escape, she options to use the elevator, and she's hardly that scared either. Another stupid bit, Jones uses a condom as a slingshot where he launches a bullet from it that hits Frank in the side of the neck. The acting too is pretty standard. If you rule out Cassavettes, 21 Jump Street's Steven Williams gives the strongest performance as a no nonsense L.A Lieutenant, who of course at first clashes with Jones. And for what it was worth, Mckinney's short screen time was good too. How Williams and Jones, kept avoiding all the gunfire and rockets that could of killed them ten times over, is another of those "beyond me's", but this one's almost beyond brains. At least the film never dulls, and keeps you on your eyes. William's opening scene in the restaurant, is tasty, when sitting next to Stone (John Russell) who keeps groping her leg, as she has to keep pushing it away. It's also great to see Jones get drunk here, then making an avenging arse of himself, in front of Stone and company.