Combine cutting-edge action movie snaps with a “Romeo and Juliet” inspired storyline and you’ve got “Die in a Gunfight,” a neon-saturated shoot-’em-up that follows a pair of brooding lovers then. let them push away their gangster parents.
Director Collin Schiffli takes inspiration from the hyper-stylized playbook of filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Edgar Wright, and Nicolas Winding Refn, using comic book-style animation and freeze-frame effects to introduce the characters in the film, all of them rich and crazy people – the squeaky scammers.
His hero is Ben Gibbon (Diego Boneta), a typical bad boy who spends his days roaming the city, partying and fighting in the streets with his best friend, Mukul (Wade Allain-Marcus), always at his sides.
But Ben’s brash manners hide a broken heart. He longs for a disgruntled compatriot Mary Rathcart (Alexandra Daddario), and when the two fatefully reunite on a fancy night out, they run away together despite their parents’ efforts to separate them. Cue a series of flashy showdowns and playful plays in grimy strip clubs and cinemas.
It’s a shame that everything is so fiercely designed. The film tries so hard to be smooth, but its efforts are both unoriginal and painfully amateurish.
One of its biggest missteps is its use of voiceover narration meant to give events a mythical quality. But the narration (performed by Billy Crudup, but more like an automated recording) lands flat against the movie’s wildest beats.
Boneta and Daddario at least play their doomed lovers with a lasciviously manic glint in their (dilated) eyes, but the stereotypical script does them no favors. It is a classic case of style rather than substance, only its style seems woefully outdated.
Die in a shootout
R side. Duration: 1 hour 32 minutes. In theaters and available to rent or purchase on Google Play, FandangoNow, and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.