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Thursday, February 04, 2016

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Gunfights and Films - The X-Men Franchise

Gunfights and Films - The X-Men Franchise

X-Men is a film franchise that's always been close to my heart as it was one that my daughter watched all the time and I found myself becoming a fan of these movies and I watch them frequently. The characters are vibrant and I'd have to say Wolverine is my favorite. All the actors featured in this franchise are award winning and bring their talents to the table in every film. Today we'll take a look at two films from the franchise that feature the best gunfights as well as explore their individual plot lines and dynamic story telling that is rife with special effects. So let's take a look at the modern day fictional world of mutants and humans. The first one we'll check out is a late installment in the franchise but it gives us origin stories as well as it action packed from beginning to end. The second will be the origin story of Wolverine which also explores more mutant identities and their origin stories as well. This film has a sequence involving a helicopter and a motorcycle that I can't wait to show you. Let's take a look at these fun films and the weapons they feature.

X-Men: First Class

is the fifth film in the X-Men film franchise. The 2011 film is a prequel to the original X-Men and is set primarily during the early 1960s, notably at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The film, which was directed by Matthew Vaughn, primarily examines the beginning of the friendship between Charles Xavier (who would become Professor X) and Erik Lehnserr (who would become Magneto). The majority of this cast will be featured along with members of the original trilogy in 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past.

At a German concentration camp in occupied Poland during 1944, young Erik Lensherr is separated from his parents by Nazi guards. The child's desperate mind remarkably bends a metal gate until a guard knocks Lensherr unconscious. Scientist Sebastian Shaw, who has observed this incident through a window, calls Lensherr up to see him. Placing a metal coin on a desk, he orders Lensherr to use his power to move it. When Lensherr cannot, despite his best efforts, Shaw shoots and kills Lensherr's mother in front of him. In his rage, Lensherr's out-of-control magnetic power kills the two guards and destroys two rooms, to Shaw's delight. Shaw tells Lensherr that they will enjoy developing the boy's power.

Around this same time, in a Westchester County, New York, mansion, young Charles Xavier is awoken when he thinks he hears a burglar break in. He heads down to the kitchen and finds a young, shape-shifting girl named Raven Darkhölme, disguised as his mother, who is looking through the fridge for food. Using his mind to talk to Raven, Xavier accuses his "mother" of being an impostor, and asks what it has done with his real mother, as she would not make him a sandwich or hot chocolate. Raven shifts back to her normal, blue-skinned form. Overjoyed to meet someone else different like him, Xavier invites her in.

In 1962, Lensherr goes to Switzerland and forces a banker to trace a bar of Nazi gold to Shaw's address in Argentina. In a tavern there patronized by former German soldiers, Lensherr kills three men as he learns that Shaw owns a yacht in Florida. Meanwhile, in England, Xavier has graduated from Oxford and is publishing his thesis on mutation; Raven is now his foster sister and works as a waitress. Simultaneously in Las Vegas, Nevada, CIA agent Moira MacTaggart follows U.S. Army Colonel Hendry into the Hellfire Club, where she sees Shaw, Emma Frost, Riptide and Azazel. Shaw calmly threatens Hendry, telling him that the Colonel should reverse his position on advocating that the U.S. install nuclear missiles in Turkey, a move the government had previously avoided so as not to provoke war with the Soviet Union. When Hendry refuses, Shaw has Riptide demonstrate his power to conjure tornadoes from thin air and hurls Hendry into a wall. Convinced, Shaw has Azazel tele-port Hendry to the President's War Room, where he supports the missile placement in Turkey.

Shaw later meets with Colonel Hendry on his yacht, and refuses to give Hendry his money, at which point Hendry pulls out a grenade and threatens to pull the pin and kill himself and everyone on the boat's deck. Shaw takes the grenade and pulls the pin himself, and absorbs the blast -- Shaw is a mutant, and absorbs energy, which also keeps him young, then taps Hendry, expelling the grenade's energy into the Colonel, destroying him.

MacTaggart seeks Xavier's advice on mutation, and takes Xavier and Raven to the CIA to convince the chief that Shaw is a threat. After convincing them that mutants exist, they are to be taken to a covert facility, but first Xavier insists they track down Shaw. Shaw is aboard his yacht relaxing with Frost and Riptide when Lensherr appears. Frost uses her telepathy to pacify Erik and pushes him overboard.

Lensherr attacks Shaw, using the anchors and chains of the yacht to tear the boat apart. When Shaw escapes in a submarine hidden below the upper decks of the boat, Lensherr tries to stop him, his ability to control metal pulling him along in the water. Xavier stops him so that he does not drown. Lensherr joins Xavier and Raven at the CIA facility, where they meet Hank McCoy, another mutant that Xavier accidentally outs. McCoy and Xavier use a prototype Cerebro to locate mutants and recruit several of them to train to stop Shaw. During the recruiting process, we also see Xavier and Lensherr walk up to Logan, who is Wolverine, in a bar and introduce themselves. He tells them to go to hell, and they walk off slightly dejected.

Shaw plans to meet with a Russian general, but sends Frost instead, who is then captured by Xavier and Lensherr. Xavier taps into Frost's mind and finds out that Shaw plans to start a nuclear war between the US and Russia in order to wipe out all normal humans. Back in the US, the CIA facility is attacked by Azazel, Riptide and Shaw, who kill all the guards and agents present. Shaw offers the new mutants to a place on his side, but most of them refuse. He recruits Angel and kills Darwin When Lensherr and Xavier return they all go to Xavier's mansion and begin to train, though Raven is conflicted about hiding her natural form. Hank creates a vaccine that is supposed to turn his and Raven's appearance normal, however, when Hank takes it there are unexpected side effects: his mutant physical features are enhanced; he now has blue skin, blue fur and is several times stronger.

President Kennedy institutes a blockade of a Russian fleet in the Caribbean Sea. Shaw travels with the Russian fleet to ensure that the missiles get to Cuba. Xavier, MacTaggart and Lensherr fly to the blockade to stop the fleets from engaging. Shaw uses the sub's nuclear core to charge himself up and a helmet to block Xavier's telepathy. While Azazel kills the crew of the Russian missile ship, Xavier uses his powers to make a Russian officer on one of the escort ships fire a missile and destroy the cargo ship carrying the Soviet weapons before it crosses the line.

With Xavier's help, Lensherr pulls Shaw's submarine from the water, but an attack by Riptide forces the jet and submarine to crash on a nearby beach. Xavier desperately tries to locate Shaw with his telepathic ability but is unable while Shaw is in the reactor room of the sub. Lensherr goes after Shaw and finds him in the sub's reactor room. The two battle furiously and the shielding around the chamber cracks, allowing Xavier to locate Shaw. Lensherr tries to overcome Shaw with the metal in the room but Shaw counters with his own telekinesis and pins Lensherr to the wall. Suddenly, Lensherr plucks Shaw's helmet from his head with a length of cable and Xavier freezes Shaw. Lensherr puts on the helmet to block out Xavier's telepathy and admits that he agrees with everything Shaw believes about mutants and humans and how he never would have developed his power if Shaw hadn't forced him to. Eric, however, is still vengeful about Shaw's murder of his mother and kills Shaw by slowly forcing the coin that Shaw taunted him with as a child through his brain while Xavier screams, experiencing the act himself. Eric exits the wrecked submarine with Shaw's body and announces to his fellow mutants that the humans in both fleets are their real enemies and that the mutants should band together to fight them. Xavier pleads with Eric to end the campaign but he fails.
The two fleets fire their missiles and shells at the mutants on the beach, but Lensherr, now fully in control of his abilities, stops the projectiles in mid-flight and then turns them on the fleet. In the ensuing fight Xavier manages to distract Lensherr, but when MacTaggart fires at Lensherr he deflects the bullets, with one striking Xavier in the lower spine. The missiles and shells all fall into the ocean or explode. Lensherr removes the bullet from Charles' back but, more furious than before, begins to choke MacTaggart with the chain holding her ID tags, blaming her for Xavier's injury. Xavier tells Erik that Moira is not the one responsible and Erik relents, realizing he injured his friend. Erik releases Moira, who rushes to Xavier's side.

Lensherr takes Raven, Angel, Riptide and Azazel and leaves, having convinced them that humans are their enemies. Xavier, now confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, and his fellow mutants return to the mansion, where he will open a school. He wipes MacTaggart's memory. MacTaggart reports to her superiors but has nothing to tell them, knowing that Charles had erased her memory of all recent events.

At CIA headquarters, Emma Frost sits alone in a specialized holding cell. The door is suddenly ripped from it's frame and Erik walks in with his new recruits waiting just outside. He is wearing a new uniform and a newer version of the helmet he'd stolen from Shaw. He tells Frost to call him "Magneto."

This movie is a great glimpse into how each X-Men character takes on their roles in all the other films in the franchise. Lots of action packed sequences and thrulls throughout the film but let's take a look at some of the more memorable ones and the weapons that made them stand out.

A Luger P08 is used by Dr. Klaus Schmidt (Kevin Bacon) while testing Erik Lehnsherr's powers during the 1944 flahback. Later, an Argentinian bartender holds one on Erik (Michael Fassbender), who then kills him and uses the gun to finish off the remaining officer.

Luger P08 - 9x19mm.


      Dr. Schmidt aiming his Luger P08 at Erik's mother.


While leveling the Luger at Erik's mother, Schmidt cautiously stares down at the coin.


 The bartender to left with his Luger as Erik stabs a former SS member.


Erik kills the last former SS member with a Luger.

To watch the Argentina scene you can watch it here: 

Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) uses a M1911A1 pistol when training with Erik. Erik is later seen holding it when he and some of the students watch President Kennedy's address. A Division X agent (Tony Curran) fires one at Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) during the Hellfire Club's assault. It is also seen holstered and used by various U.S. soldiers, notably the soldier in the truck heading to the General's palace.

  Pre-War Colt M1911A1 Pistol Commercial - .45 ACP

Shaw is threatened with the M1911A1.

A Division X agent firing his M1911A1 at Shaw.

Charles thumbs back the hammer on an M1911A1 pistol. While not visible in a screenshot, this scene opens with the camera focused on the pistol's muzzle, then focuses on Charles, giving a clear view of the trademarks on the slide as it does this.

Another shot of the same scene. When Charles hands the pistol to Erik after this, Erik lowers the hammer.

Erik holding his M1911A1 while watching President Kennedy's address.

To see each characters abilities as well as see them in some crucial scenes you can watch here: 

Soviet border guards and the General's palace guards are armed with AK-47s.

Milled Type III AK-47 (Poly Tech Legend) - 7.62x39mm.

Soviet border guards with AK-47s. Note the middle guard's chest pouches, which were not created until after the Soviet-Afghan war.

Erik disassembles the AK-47s of two Soviet guards with his metal-controlling powers.

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American soldiers aboard the Naval Blockade are armed with M16A1 Rifles. Since this movie took place during the Cuban missile Crisis in 1962, this rifle, like the CAR-15, is an anachronism because M16s were not issued to US military en mass until the onset of the Vietnam war and the fact that the M16A1 was not produced until 1968.

M16A1 with 30 round magazine - 5.56x45mm

U.S. Navy crewmen pointing their M16s at Havoc.

U.S. Navy crewman drop their M16s to the ground in response to Banshee's ultrasonic screaming.

To find out more about the weapons used in this film you can go here:

A great film from start to finish, I recommend grabbing all of your favorite friends and start this film franchise this week. Enjoy! 

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

is the fourth film in the X-Men film franchise and the first solo film for the character of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). This film was directed by Gavin Hood and retells the origins of Logan and his relationship with his brother and fellow mutant Victor (Liev Schreiber), who also possesses the power of immortality. The film's cast includes Ryan Reynolds, Dominic Monaghan, Kevin Durand, Daniel Henney, and Danny Huston. In addition to the X-Men sequels, Jackman would return as Logan in 2013's The Wolverine, a second standalone Wolverine film. Ryan Reynolds would return as Deadpool in his own feature film in 2016.

In 1845 in North-Western Territory, British North America, young James Howlett sees his father John Howlett  killed by his friend Victor Creed's father, Thomas Logan. In an act of vengeance, James kills the elder Logan using bone claws which have grown out of his hands due to the stress of the incident. With his dying breath, Logan tells James that he is also his son. James runs out of the house, followed by Victor, who finds him and promises his younger brother that he'll look out for him. James and Victor run away, pursued by a torch-wielding mob.

In the years that follow, adult brothers James and Victor  are seen fighting together in the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, and eventually the Vietnam War. Their regenerative powers keep them from being killed in the battlefield and they both age considerably slowly compared to non-mutants. James is forced to act as a check on Victor's increasing rage and ferocity. In Vietnam, Victor kills a superior officer after being stopped from raping a girl, and James and Victor are sentenced to death by firing squad, though their unique regenerative abilities keep them alive.

While they are incarcerated, Major William Stryker approaches the two mutants and offers them membership in Team X, his elite group of mutants. The team consists of mutants Fred Dukes, who possesses super strength and invulnerability; John Wraith, who can teleport; Chris Bradley, a.k.a. Bolt, who can control electricity and possesses telekinetic abilities; expert marksman Agent Zero ; and mercenary Wade Wilson, an amazing swordsman who never stops talking. The brothers join the group and are sent to the team's first mission: Invade the headquarters of a diamond trafficking operation in Lagos, Nigeria, to retrieve a meteorite. When Stryker asks the diamond smuggler about the source of the meteorite, the smuggler tells him that it came from a remote village further into Nigeria. The team goes there and Stryker and the team brutally interrogate the local people to learn where the meteorite was found. James is disgusted by the murders committed by his teammates and abandons the group over Victor's persuasions and protests.

Six years afterward, James, now going by his last name of Logan, is a lumberjack living with his girlfriend Kayla Silverfox. Meanwhile, Victor hunts down and murders Bradley, who was working at a circus. Victor mentions that Wade is already dead. Stryker locates Logan and claims that someone is killing members of the now-disbanded team. Stryker asks Logan for help, but is refused. Shortly after, Silverfox is murdered by Victor. Wolverine hunts down his half-brother, but is easily defeated. Stryker once again asks Logan for help, and Logan agrees. Stryker has Logan's skeletal system reinforced with adamantium which is a virtually indestructible metal retrieved from the meteorite source found by Team X in Nigeria. Before the procedure, Logan asks for his new dog tags to say "Wolverine," a reference to a story that Kayla told him. After the procedure, Stryker orders Wolverine's memory to be erased, but Wolverine overhears this and flees, despite being totally nude.  Stryker orders Agent Zero to hunt him down and take his head off.

An elderly couple, Travis and Heather Hudson, see Wolverine enter their barn. They're wary but welcoming, giving him food and clothing, including a leather jacket of their son's -- and their son's motorcycle. The next morning, both are shot dead by Zero. Wolverine takes out several HMMWVs, a helicopter and Zero himself, telling Stryker over Zero's radio, that he'll hunt him down. Stryker warns Wolverine that if he chooses to go after the answers he seeks, he won't like what he finds.

Wolverine locates former associates John Wraith and Fred Dukes, seeking to learn the location of Stryker's new laboratory. After beating Dukes in a boxing match, Wolverine learns the disbanded team had been capturing young mutants for Stryker. One of them, Remy LeBeau, known as Gambit, escaped the island laboratory and knows its location. Dukes tells Logan that his brother Victor is actually working for Stryker, capturing and killing mutants for him.

Wolverine and Wraith locate Gambit in a New Orleans bar. Wolverine talks to Gambit while Wraith keeps watch outside, but Gambit suspects Wolverine was sent to recapture him and, using his ability to charge objects with kinetic energy, throws several playing cards at Wolverine that send him flying through a wall. Outside, Wolverine sees Victor has killed Wraith and taken a sample of his blood. Wolverine fights Victor, only to be interrupted by Gambit. Victor escapes, and after a brief struggle, Gambit agrees to take Wolverine to the Stryker's secret mutant prison/laboratory.

The facility turns out to be Three Mile Island. Once there, Wolverine confronts Stryker and learns Silverfox is still alive; Victor faked her death with hydrochlorothiazide. She was keeping track of the mutant to free her sister, Emma Frost, who is also in the prison. Wolverine is devastated by this betrayal.

Now having no quarrel with Stryker, Wolverine departs. Victor, angered that Stryker let Wolverine go, demands the adamantium procedure. Stryker, however, tells him that he won't survive the procedure and in an act of rage, Victor tries to kill Silverfox, her power of persuasion failing to influence Victor despite her physical contact with him. Wolverine hears Silverfox's screams and attacks Victor. Finally having the chance to kill Victor, Wolverine chooses not to give in to his animal instincts and instead knocks him out. Silverfox shows Wolverine to the holding cells, and he frees the mutants there.

Panicking, Stryker prematurely activates his newest creation, Weapon XI, a bald, pale-skinned and deformed Wade Wilson, lacking a mouth and with patterns on his skin marking his adamantium bone structure. As the rescue party approaches an exit, it is blocked by Weapon XI, who is under Stryker's control. Wolverine tells them to find a new exit as two long blades extend from Weapon XI's arms. The blades are similar to Wolverine's claws, but more like katana swords, Wilson's weapon of choice. Wolverine realizes that this monstrosity is actually Wade Wilson.

Weapon XI, also called Deadpool, is a mutant Frankenstein's monster, with the abilities of several of the killed and captured mutants: Summer's optic blasts, Wraith's teleportation, and Wolverine's healing ability. During the escape, Silverfox is mortally wounded. The other mutants escape through the facility's tunnels, guided by Scott who is unable to tell them how he knows the way out. Emerging from the tunnel, the party encounters a helicopter. Riding in the helicopter is a familiar figure: Professor Charles Xavier, who has guided them to safety and offers them a home at his school.

Meanwhile, the fight between Wolverine and Weapon XI moves to the top of one of the nuclear power plant's cooling towers. Weapon XI overpowers and prepares to decapitate Wolverine, but Victor returns to aid his brother. Wolverine and Victor, now working together, are able to decapitate Weapon XI, sending its head, still firing optic blasts, down into the cooling tower. Wolverine coldly informs Victor that despite his help, their relationship is over. Victor reminds him that as brothers, they can never be finished, and jumps off the the cooling tower. The damage from the optic blasts causes the cooling tower to collapse, but Wolverine is rescued by Gambit.

Wolverine asks Gambit to ensure the prisoners are safe, while he returns to find Silverfox, who stayed behind because she was wounded. As he carries her to safety, Stryker shoots him in the back with an adamantium bullet. Wolverine charges Stryker to kill him but is shot in the head, knocking him unconscious.

Stryker approaches Silverfox and prepares to shoot her as well but she uses her powers of persuasion to order Stryker to first throw away the pistol and then walk away until his feet bleed. She then dies from her injuries. Gambit returns to assure Wolverine that the mutants are safe, but due to amnesia caused by the brain damage the adamantium bullets inflicted, Wolverine does not remember anything. Logan's lack of memory was Stryker's intention all along,  knowing that even the adamantium bullets could not kill Logan but will cause amnesia). Gambit tries to get Wolverine to come with him, but he declines. Gambit wishes Wolverine good luck before departing, and Wolverine flees the scene as the ambulances and police arrive.

Wolverine is my favorite X-Men and I love the origin story. Keep in mind that some references below will refer to  Hugh Jackman's character  by a few different names and that represents the different phases of his life and transformations. Let's take a look at some of the weapons used in this film.

David North, aka "Agent Zero" (Daniel Henney), carries a pair of stainless Taurus PT92s in the film notably during the Nigerian mission. He shows off his reloading talents by throwing them in the air and inserting fresh mags as they fall, but the CGI had in one instance the slides are locked back, but by the time Zero inserts new mags, the slides were released and he continues to fire without racking the slide or pressing a release, as if he already had one in each chamber.

   Taurus PT92 - 9mm.

Zero pretending to surrender, but in reality, has 2 more PT92s strapped to his back.

Agent Zero fires his Taurus PT92s at African soldiers.

Zero shows off his unusual way of reloading his Taurus handguns.

To watch the first scene featuring the talents of Agent Zero you can do so here:

A Humvee in hot pursuit of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) fires a Browning M2HB at him as he drives away on a motorcycle. Wolverine then does a hard turn and flips the Humvee with his claws. One of the guns he destroys by chopping off the barrel with his claws, while another he uses to fire at the helicopter before it is destroyed by a rocket. The Browning M2HB is also seen mounted on the Higgins boat in the opening credits.

         Browning M2HB - .50 BMG.

In a scene from the trailer, a helicopter gunner fires a Browning M2HB at Wolverine.

   When Wolverine flips the Humvee, the Browning M2HB is visible.

Wolverine prepares to fire the Browning M2HB.

To watch the scene with Wolverine and the helicopter you can watch here:

During the opening credits, one of the US soldiers in Vietnam is seen aiming an M14 Rifle at Howlett and Creed.

M14 rifle - 7.62x51mm NATO

A soldier behind Howlett pointing his M14 at both Howlett and Creed. Note that by surrounding the two men in a circle, they run the risk of shooting each other

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During the opening credits, both James Howlett (Hugh Jackman) and Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber) are seen carrying Enfield Pattern 1853 rifles as Union soldiers during the Civil War. Several Union and Confederate soldiers are seen using Enfield rifles as well.

British 1853 Enfield.

Howlett and several other Union soldiers charge with Enfield Pattern 1853.

Howlett and Victor run together with Enfield Pattern 1853.


Both James Howlett (Hugh Jackman) and Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber) are armed with the M1903 Springfield while fighting in the trenches during World War I.

  Springfield 1903 - .30-06.

    Howlett takes out two German riflemen with his M1903 Springfield.

To watch the war montage in the credits you can do so here:

To see what other weapons were used in this film you can go here:

Grab plenty of snacks and enjoy a comic book fueled action packed franchise film weekend!

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Shawn in the Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

For more info on these and other weapons
Technical specs compiled from:

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."


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