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A Clear Shot - Movie Review

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A Clear Shot

4 gunmen. 41 people.  8 hours.  

Those are the specifics floating around the 1991 Sacramento hostage crisis when a Good Guys! store in Sacramento, California was hit by rogue members of the Oriental Gang.  The event is a part of our nation’s history now as the tragic situation has gone down as the largest hostage siege negotiation ever attempted in the United States, but its lessons stick like gum to the bottom of our shoes.

"the drama explores a lot of teachable moments that quickly went sideways thanks to far too many attitudes and way too much testosterone."


Now, we have Writer/Director Nick Leisure’s A Clear Shot to emotionally dramatize the events of that fateful day - a day in which 6 people died and an entire police force mishandled a large shootout.  Shot for a little over one million dollars, the movie turns its modest budget into big muscles as it successfully plays out a bizarre turn of events in which attempts to save hostages fail and the emotional trials and social pressures of immigrant assimilation into the American culture are examined.

Starring acclaimed actor Mario Van Peebles as Detective Rick Gomez, the police force’s chief hostage negotiator, the movie quickly balances a lot of wills and determinations as this game of chess becomes a headbanging exercise as Gomez has to match wits and wills with Sheriff Todd (Michael Balin) and a SWAT Commander (Rafael Siegel) that wants to storm the building as soon as possible.

Going for a more psychological angle, A Clear Shot manages to be both tense and exhilarating as a hostage situation gets out of hand relatively quickly thanks to sparring brothers, Loi (Hao Do, in his feature film debut) and Long (Tony Dew),  and inner agency politics that has everyone second-guessing each other, leaving no one clearly in charge of the response.  

While the action is relatively low-key, there are plenty of moments of gunfire thanks to trigger happy cops and the inner angst of the hostage takers.  What was supposed to be a normal day of shopping and shoplifting in an electronics store erupts into chaos as four gunmen storm the premises, quickly taking hostages and shouting orders.  They don’t want to hurt anyone, but a split in the group leaves a fissure that will stain the day.  And, as the day goes on, what could have been a peaceful surrender quickly turns this sleepy city into a national tragedy.A Clear Shot

Co-starring Mandela Van Peebles (Jigsaw), Jessica Meza (General Hospital), David Fernandez Jr (End of Watch), Marshal Hilton (Echoes of Fear), and Glenn Plummer (Sons of Anarchy), the drama explores a lot of teachable moments that quickly went sideways thanks to far too many attitudes and way too much testosterone.  The movie is well-researched and well-filmed, turning its budgetary limitations into emotional landmines that will have you wishing this whole thing had turned out differently. 

A Clear Shot comes to DVD and Digital June 2 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

3/5 stars

A Clear Shot

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor:
Available on Blu-ray

Screen Formats:
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The Hustle (2019)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
94 mins
Director
: Nick Leisure
Writer:
Nick Leisure
Cast:
Mario Van Peebles, Mandela Van Peebles, Jessica Meza
Genre
: Crime | Drama
Tagline:
Inspired by the largest hostage rescue operation in U.S. History.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Distributor:
Uncork'd Entertainment
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 2, 2020
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: An electronic store erupts into chaos as four gunmen storm the premises. Rick Gomez, Sacramento Police Departments’ top negotiator, realizes he needs to talk down the gunmen and keep everyone safe, all while juggling government politics. The gunmen leader doesn't want to hurt anyone, but his brother is a different story. A peaceful surrender quickly turns this sleepy city into a national tragedy.

The Hustle (2019)

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