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SHOOT OR BE SHOT (PG-13)
Iron Entertainment
Official Site
Director: J. Randall Argue
Producers: Ralph Winter, Ralph Linnardt, J. Randall Argue
Written by: J. Randall Argue. Steve Catanzaro, Alistair Salton
Cast: William Shatner, Harry Hamlin, Scott Rinker, Julieanne Christie, Elena Saragon

Rating: out of 5


I blindly agreed to see SHOOT OR BE SHOT, knowing absolutely nothing about the film—because isn’t that the best way?—and suddenly I find myself interviewing William Shatner and Harry Hamlin, the films’ stars, at their hotel. Does this mean I have to say something nice about their movie?

Sorry, guys, I can’t lie to ya!

SHOOT OR BE SHOT is an “action comedy” about a mismatched bunch of filmmakers making a movie in the California desert. Shatner plays Harvey, an escaped mental patient who, after a career of writing VCR manuals, has at last written his masterpiece, a feature-length screenplay. Ben (Rinker), a young, idealistic director whose mother has kicked him out of the house due to a lack of “discernable talent,” meets up with Jack (Hamlin) a skirt-chasing, trashy B-movie producer turned indie film venture capitalist.

At the casting call, a blonde bombshell and star of Jack’s former B-movies named Heidi (Christie) shows up incognito under the alias “Fiona,” with short red hair and a bad Irish accent, in order to get the part in Ben’s improvisational, aleatoric film. Who needs a script? So, the riff-raff production team sets out to shoot in the California desert, the cheapest location they can find. There, they cross paths with crazy Harvey, who takes them at gunpoint, forcing them to produce his script. And the rest is history. Only they don’t end up making the movie, due to creative differences and a whole lot of gunplay. Harvey just gets captured and taken back to the asylum. Whoops, did I just give the whole thing away? Well, that’s okay, because it’s all in the preview too, and it’s not much of a cliffhanger anyway.

On a brighter note, the cast seemed to be enjoying themselves. Shatner as a crazy screenwriter is magnificent casting. Period.

I’d classify SHOOT OR BE SHOT as “sniff funny” as opposed to laugh-out-loud funny. Like, hmmm, that’s mildly amusing. I’m somewhat entertained. It’s kind of a clever plot set up, but then it really falls flat in the last third or so. There’s a bunch of stereotypes and clichés. The rich, yet money hungry producer. The naïve, bohemian director who wants to change the world. The dumb blonde who falls in love with the aforementioned bohemian director. This list goes on.

If you’re going to mock moviemaking, you’ve got to be a little cleverer than this. It can be, and has been, done so much better. GET SHORTY and SWIMMING WITH SHARKS, just to name a couple. So, I apologize, Mr. Shatner, but all I can say is better luck next time.

—Michelle Fajkus

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



Pink Floyd

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