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The Way of the Gun (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

A derivative yet stylish neo-noir that follows two criminal drifters who find themselves in serious danger when they kidnap the pregnant surrogate of a powerful underworld lawyer and his wife.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

The Way of the Gun -- After Dark: Neo-Noir Cinema Collection Volume Two (1990 - 2002) (Imprint)

Christopher McQuarrie made his directorial debut in 2000 with The Way of the Gun. The film is a crime thriller that deals with the sorts of antiheroes that would have fit in perfectly in McQuarrie’s screenplay for the 1995 classic The Usual Suspects.

Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro play two criminal drifters Parker (Phillippe) and Longbaugh (Del Toro). When they hear of a pregnant surrogate (Juliette Lewis), they believe kidnapping her will reap a large ransom. Parker and Longbaugh did not realize the husband of the couple is connected to the mafia. They soon find themselves pursued by mafia fixer Joe Sarno (James Caan) and a pair of hired bodyguards-cum-hitmen, Jeffers (Taye Diggs) and Obecks (Nicky Katt).

The Way of the Gun was another in a long string of films from the era that looked to copy the style of Quentin Tarantino.  It has the mixture of hip dialogue, veteran actors, new upcoming stars like Benicio Del Toro, and wears its classic influences proudly (see Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for this film’s climax). This is just like a Tarantino film. The issue that makes this two steps down from, say, Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill is that it is not put together nearly as inventively as those films. Gun does not even hit as well as The Usual Suspects, but that does not mean it is bad film either.

Caan is exceptionally good as the dangerous mafia fixer. Del Toro is magnetic as Longbaugh even though he is not given much material to work with. He turns the character into to someone compelling almost entirely on his own. The

McQuarrie does infuse the film with the requisite cool and unexpected violence and balletic gunplay one expects. The first two acts of the film are enjoyable enough to hold one to the splendid if derivative finale.

  • After Dark: Neo-Noir Cinema Collection Volume Two (1990 - 2002) (Imprint)
  • Benicio del Toro and Ryan Phillippe in The Way of the Gun (2000)
  • Ryan Phillippe in The Way of the Gun (2000)
  • Benicio Del Toro in The Way of the Gun (2000)
  • Benicio Del Toro in The Way of the Gun (2000)
  • The Way of the Gun (2000)
  • The Way of the Gun -- After Dark: Neo-Noir Cinema Collection Volume Two (1990 - 2002) (Imprint)

The Video

The Way of the Gun was shot using Moviecam Compact and Moviecam SL cameras with Cooke S4 lenses on Kodak Vision 200T 5274 and Vision 500T 5279 35mm film stock. It arrives on Blu-ray in a 1080p AVC encodement framed at 1.78:1. The image is acceptable for a home video release. There is some mild ringing but there is nothing egregious that I could point to in the transfer to make me disregard the disc as not worth watching. It never rises to videophile level, but it handles the many darker scenes as well as flesh tones in a pleasing fashion. The film’s granularity does not overwhelm but is at times just a little soft.

The Audio

We have English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English LPCM 2.0 stereo mixes for The Way of the Gun on this release. Whereas the earlier film in this After Dark collection I reviewed, The Crimson Rivers, was lush and engulfing, this 5.1 mix is a bit more reined in and laid back. The result of this is not a bad mix, however, we still get one that is balanced and clean with good dynamics. Ultimately the real test for this mix comes in the final act when the gunplay kicks into overdrive. The sounds are handled evenly, have punch in the midrange, ample lows, and are not fatiguing in the high frequencies.

The Supplements

From the Limited Edition 7-Disc Hardbox After Dark: Neo-Noir Cinema Collection Two (1990-2002) with 60-page booklet, featuring essays from film critics Peter Galvin, Blake Howard & Alexei Toliopoulos.

On this Disc:

There is one new and interesting audio commentary on this disc from Imprint along with a number of archival interviews and a second filmmaker commentary.

  • Audio Commentary by Christopher McQuarrie and Joe Kraemer
  • Audio Commentary by Travis Woods (NEW)
  • Isolated Music Score Commentary by Joe Kraemer
  • Cast Interview (SD):
    • Ryan Phillippe (00:01:33)
    • Benicio del Toro (00:00:53)
    • Juliette Lewis (00:01:34)
    • Taye Diggs (00:01:26)
    • Nicky Katt (00:00:54)
    • James Caan (00:01:16)
  • Theatrical Trailer (SD)
  • TV Spot (SD)

The Final Assessment

This is a captivating crime thriller that rode the wave of Tarantino’s success and borrowed heavily from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as well as other films. Despite being derivative it is still well-crafted and well-acted. Imprint Films’ inclusion of this film in their latest After Dark collection is well warranted.


The Way of the Gun is available on Blu-ray in the After Dark: Neo-Noir Cinema Collection Two (1990-2002) in Australia on 7 December, 2022, from Imprint Films. Available for purchase on the Via Vision/Imprint Films website.


  • Rating Certificate: Australia:MA 
  • Studios & Distributors: Artisan Entertainment | Aqaba Productions | Lionsgate | Imprint Films
  • Director: Christopher McQuarrie
  • Written By: Christopher McQuarrie
  • Run Time: 120 Mins.
  • Street Date: 7 December 2022
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Secondary Audio: LPCM 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English HOH
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A derivative yet stylish neo-noir that follows two criminal drifters who find themselves in serious danger when they kidnap the pregnant surrogate of a powerful underworld lawyer and his wife.The Way of the Gun (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray Review)