Shoot or Be Shot (aka "Shooting Stars") (2002)
Starring: William Shatner, Harry Hamlin, Julianne Christie, and Scott Rinker
Director: J. Randall Argue
Rating: Five of Ten Stars
An escaped lunatic (Shatner) holds a film crew hostage to force them to make his screen play. Meanwhile, love blooms between the creatively lazy diretor (Rinker) and his leading lady who, to show she can do something other than low-budget crap, has taken on a new identity... and is an actress pretending to be a struggling actress (Christie).
"Shoot or Be Shot" is a fairly predictable and thoroughly unbelievable movie populated by stereotypes belonging to the bottom rung of Hollywood's film business--the low-budget outfits that have been the source of the vast majority of the film's reviewed on this very page. Despite the lack of surprises, the film offers up a large amount of laughs, and William Shatner is lots of fun as he cuts completely loose as a technical writer who snapped after writing one VCR instruction manual too many and who now has turned to screen writing. (It's even funnier that his character is probably the only one in the whole film who has any real talent.)
Speaking of talent, there seems to be a bare minimum of it coming into play in this film. The script has some great jokes and Shatner is riot... and these elements by themselves keep this film slipping below the high end of average. Most of the featured actors give weak performances, and the director was unable to keep the reality of the film he created intact by engaging in the sort of sloppiness that should have gone out with the 1970s and which indicates that J. Randall Argue was almsot as lazy as the fictional director in the film. Of course, it's possible that "Shoot or Be Shot" was trying to be self-ironic, but I doubt it, because nowhere else in the film is there a sense that it is. (I can't go into details without revealing the ending--although any attentive viewer guess it well before the filmmakers reach it--but suffice to say that the movie that supposdely results from the tribulations of the film crew isn't one that anyone could possibly have shot.)
With just a little more effort, this could have been a good movie instead of mediocre one.
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