Every once in a while, I review a movie that makes me wonder if I'm too harsh. "Sixgun" is one such movie; a micro budget, western that is inconceivably bad in all aspects. A movie so deadpan in awful dialogue that I began to question whether I was missing the point of the movie and it was some sort of dark spoof. It would have made more sense, as at least then, the movie would at least be below average in overall quality. However, as the poorly developed plot rolled on, and unintentional comedy was replaced with earnestness that one might find in community theater, it was all too clear, this movie was serious.
I don't like to use the supplementary materials at all when writing a review, the movie should stand on its own merits. That said, the commentary track on this movie confirmed that the original editor assumed the movie was a comedy and was quickly replaced, since the director himself was making a straight up western. That sad fact really makes me hate and pity the movie, while simultaneously feeling I've been too harsh on previous turkeys. "Sixgun" is an incomprehensible mess of a movie, populated by "actors" (a liberal usage of the term here) who need serious acting lessons and/or never rehearsed their dialogue. How else do you explain a line reading of, "So I'm supposed to feed him to the pigs" with a Shatner-esque delivery and hand movement that punctuates half the syllables? To be a little fairer to the actors, the script wasn't doing them any favors. Take a look at some of the film's more inspired lines of dialogue...
"Look at you, all dead and s---."
"I don't blame him. I g--d---- blame him."
"Remember when we heard that Negro music?" [this is followed by uproarious laughter]
"This is what happens to a man who eats nothing but beans."
The film's plot unfolds at a snail's pace, beginning with some drunken revelry involving our protagonist, Tommy Hill (played by none other than, Tommy Hill). Times are tough and Hill is about to lose his ranch, until his merry band of dense friends inform him of a gunfight and stolen money. The gunfight is assumed to be the same one that plays over the opening credits, which should be enough alone to warn viewers of the awful production value. Every tired Western film trick is unleashed and unleashed poorly; we get slow motion, quick, but sloppy editing, and questionable geography of the participants, just to name a few. Soon, Tommy and his comrades are off to recover the money and involve themselves with a villain of baffling morals.
Jake, the film's villain, is a sleazebag of the highest order. Introduced wearing a black suit, dark glasses and with a kidnapped teenage girl in tow, one would think this man is a completely amoral, cutthroat. However, later on we learn that while kidnapping young girls is a-ok in his book, shooting snitches isn't. Long story short, Jake wants his money, the same money Tommy and his crew is after, a woman, naturally enters the picture, because what trite Western wouldn't be complete without a woman to complicate matters? What's that you're saying? Is this a woman of loose morals? Why yes, she is; makes sense if you're movie is this awful that no clichéd stone be left unturned. I could try and explain the idea of what follows, but it doesn't matter, because you won't care. All you'll care about is getting the time you've wasted so far on the movie back, but you can't.
Honestly, my mind hurts trying to figure out how such an awful movie is sitting in my DVD player, released by Lionsgate nonetheless. I fully understand awful movies make it to DVD all the time, but "Sixgun" is so awful, I don't see what Lionsgate saw profitable about it. The film is the second in the career of Scott Perry, who gave the world the movie, "Teenage Catgirls in Heat" back in 1997. I really don't blame Mr. Perry for wasting my time with his movie, I blame Lionsgate. Even the most casual watcher of films could sit down and realize how abysmal this production is, from the wretched acting, the laughable script, the barely passable production design, and worst of all the overuse of film tricks to make the film's few, logistically nonsensical shootouts vaguely appear to follow the laws of physics.
"Sixgun" is a terrible feature film, if it were the pilot for an online web series, it may have made sense (fifteen years ago it would be a safe bet Mike and the bots would be reveling in its awfulness). It's not, it's marketed as a legitimate straight-to-DVD feature when in fact, sitting down and watching someone play the old laserdisc game "Mad Dog McCree" will offer a more competently made and enjoyable western. "Sixgun" earns it's half-star (F-rating) solely because it does meet the definition of being a film, an awful film, but still a film.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, highlights the low budget affair, with a light, but consistent level of digital noise and color levels that are on the warm side; flesh tones are often a little too red in certain scenes. Contrast is moderately balanced, while detail is average at best. The transfer is free from any compression artifacts but a light amount of edge enhancement is always present.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital English audio is incredibly lackluster with dialogue overshadowed by ambient effects. You'll likely hear the crickets and buzzing of flies with greater clarity than any of the "stellar" dialogue, but some may find that just find. The forgettable, clichéd score falls somewhere in the middle, while the track as a whole is distortion free. The LFE channel weakly coughs up some life, but any real activity is non-existent. English and Spanish subtitles are included.
Like most bad movies, the punishment continues in the bonus features department. A feature-length commentary from director Scott Perry is remarkably insightful and a part of me feels bad for ripping up his movie as much as I did. He confirms the tiny budget (<$100,000) and the inexperience of the actors, but still talks as if he's made a great movie. "Sixgun Stories on Location" is a six-minute compilation of the cast sharing anecdotes from production set over a montage of film clips. Last but not least is the film's trailer.
An awful movie, an average technical presentation, a complete waste of time, and Lionsgate, how dare you! Skip It.