The Gunrunner

Director: Nardo Castillo
Stars: Kevin Costner, Sara Botsford and Paul Soles
Writer: Arnie Gelbart
Release Date: 1989
Our Rating: 4/10

This 1989 crime thriller was directed by Nardo Castilio, and set in 1926 with the Chinese Civil War about to be set in motion.And it turns out that the events of this movie will be crucial to setting it off.

The Gunrunner

The Gunrunner

Ted Beaubien, an itinerant wanderer is kidnapped and forced to watch as his girlfriend is killed. Having managed to escape from his torturers, he unsurprisingly vows revenge and throws caution to the wind to go on a mission to collect guns and smuggle them back into the country so that he can exact vengeance. With his family destitute he sets off on his deadly mission but then meets and falls in love with the nightclub owner Maud, who can introduce him to the people he needs but of course, love is always going to complicate a simple revenge story.

This movie is very melodramatic and frequently over the top. And that’s fine, it’s designed to entertain which it does. Kevin Costner stars as Ted and produces a very un Costner like performance, perhaps due to the fact that this was early in his career. It’s none the worse for that however as to my mind it allows him to show the range of his acting abilities, rather than churn out the same performance that made him a star. He underplays the part surprisingly in such a melodramatic movie. He is well supported by  cast that have got the idea of how the movie should be played and no one really puts a foot wrong. However the real star of the film is the time in which it is set, with the 1920s being gloriously and realistically realised, and the melting pot of events that led to the sparking off of the Chinese revolution provides an absorbing backdrop to the plot.

An interesting and unusual movie, this one is well worth a look. There’s a good balance between character scenes and action moments and the direction is very complimentary towards both, being smooth and unshowy, a sure sign of a team that knows what they are doing.

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