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Sunday, February 14, 2016

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Gunfights & Films: 80's Cult Classics Edition

Gunfights & Films: 80's Cult Classics Edition

I grew up in the 80's and it's probably one of my favorite eras in film. The plot lines were sometimes silly and outrageous but that's what made them fun. Two of my favorites were Big Trouble in Little China and Beverly Hills Cop. These characters had such colorful lives that I watched these films over and over again. They were two I frequently rented at my local video store. Let's take a look at these two movies and the weapons they featured.

Big trouble in Little China  

Directed by John Carpenter and released in 1986 Big Trouble In Little China was a favorite of mine growing up. I loved the action sequences and the cheesy characters. Carpenter has always delivered the ultimate in cult and horror films and was especially successful in the 80's.

Truck driver Jack Burton and his friend Wang Chi  go to the San Francisco International Airport to pick up Wang's fiancee Miao Yin. While at the airport, a Chinese street gang, The Lords Of Death,  kidnap Miao Yin and take her into Chinatown intent on selling her as a sex slave.

Jack and Wang follow and in the back alleys of Chinatown they get caught in a gang battle when the Wing Kong interrupt a funeral procession the Chang Sing are having for their recently assassinated leader. During the street battle, powerful magicians in league with the Wing Kong, called "The Three Storms" use their supernatural powers to slaughter the Chang Sing. Trying to escape, Jack runs over the Wing Kong's leader, the sorcerer Lo Pan. However, Lo Pan is in his sorcerer form and is not harmed by this and Wang has to help Jack after he is temporarily blinded by Lo Pan's glowing eyes.

Jack's truck is then stolen by the Lords of Death. Wang takes Jack to his restaurant 'The Dragon of the Black Pool', where they meet up with lawyer Gracie Law, Wang's friend Eddie Lee and Egg Shen, a magician and local authority on Lo Pan who moonlights as a tour bus driver in Chinatown. They come up with a plan to infiltrate the brothel where they think Miao Yin is being held. Jack dons a disguise and infiltrates the brothel. Once inside he starts to question one of the girls, but is interrupted when the Storms crash in and make off with Miao Yin.

Back in Gracie's apartment, they find that Miao Yin was taken to a place called The Wing Kong Exchange, a front for Lo Pan's domain. With Wang's assistance, Jack infiltrates the place and the two get caught in a lift that fills with water. After making their way out, Wang claims they're in "The hell of the upside-down sinners," and they are taken to a cell by Rain, who grabs Wang by the neck, and sends rubber balls to Jack's stomach with force.

Afterwards, they are taken in wheelchairs to see Lo Pan, who has taken his form as a crippled old man, where he claims that Miao Yin is safer with him than anyone else. Lo Pan informs them of his intentions with Miao Lin. Lo Pan proceeds to catch Gracie, Eddie, and Gracie's journalist friend Margo entering the building on his security monitor, and sends Thunder to deal with them. Wang and Jack are taken back to their cell, still in the wheelchairs, when Wang tells Jack about the 2,000 year old legend of Lo Pan; that he was cursed to roam the Earth in a ghost-like form until he can marry a special girl with green eyes. They break free from the wheelchairs, but hearing Thunder return, they get back into the wheelchairs and put their blindfolds back on. Thunder hangs Eddie up by the collar of his jacket, and Jack jumps Thunder, who manages to push Jack off of him and into his wheelchair, sending him back down the ramp, and nearly into a deep well. Wang and Eddie make a diversion so Jack can rescue the imprisoned girls and get out safely.

Upon reaching the front entrance, Gracie is caught by a monster, and taken to Lo Pan. Both Gracie and Miao Yin tame "The Burning Blade" and Lo Pan decides to marry both and sacrifice Gracie, and live out his 'Earthly Pleasures' with Miao Yin. Wang and Jack go to see Egg Shen, and, with the help of the Chang Sings, go into an underground cavern, and eventually into Lo Pan's offices.

Egg gives the group a potion that Jack says makes him feel 'kind of invincible', and when the group get to the ceremony, a huge fight ensues. During this battle Jack inadvertently manages to miss, due to being knocked out with rubble when he fires his gun above his head. Wang kills Rain in an elegant sword fight. Jack and Gracie head back to the offices to try and catch Lo Pan, the spell having been broken. Wang joins them, and takes on Thunder, while Jack takes on Lo Pan, throwing his knife at him, which embeds into his skull. Thunder sees this and, enraged and dishonored at his failure to protect his Master, starts to inflate to an enormous size without stopping, exploding and killing himself. Jack, Wang, Gracie and Miao Yin are cornered by Lightning in a corridor, which he makes collapse. Egg manages to rescue them by sending down a rope from a hole above them, which Lightning tries climb in order to follow, with Egg throwing down a statue which crushes him.

They find Jack's truck and make their escape back to The Dragon of the Black Pearl restaurant. With Lo Pan defeated, Egg decides to go on vacation saying China is in the heart, and Jack hits the open road. However, Jack has an unknown stowaway, one of Lo Pan's monsters is seen as the film ends.

This movie is fun to watch and has some great dialogue. Award winning actors in their younger days is always a treat as well. Let's take a look at some of the weapons featured in this cult classic. 

Jack Burton's (Kurt Russell) main weapon during the movie is a Intratec TEC-9 (aside from his Gerber TAC boot knife). Recovered from one of the Wing Kong in Lo Pan's underground dungeon when Jack knocks two of them out when flying back in the wheelchair he's in. Burton acquires the weapon after trading Wang Chi (Dennis Dunn) the Smith & Wesson Model 36 given to him by Wang. Wang then trades the S&W Model 36 to Eddie for the Double Barreled shotgun.

Intratec TEC-9 - 9x19mm

A Wing Kong with a TEC-9 before being taken out by Jack flying back in a wheelchair.

Jack Burton now with the TEC-9, after swapping the S&W Model 36 back to Wang Chi for it.

Jack fires the TEC-9. Note the look Kurt Russell pulls, while he has handled firearms before. Jack Burton the character is probably shooting this for the first time.

    Jack now more comfortable fires the TEC-9.

One of the other weapons acquired from the Wing Kong during the escape from Lo Pan's prison is an 12 Gauge Double Barreled Shotgun.

   12 Gauge Double Barreled Shotgun.

   Wang Chi with shotgun has they try to find where the women are being held.

Wang Chi holds the shotgun on Eddie creating a distraction, while Jack gets the women released.

      Eddie with Double Barrel Shotgun.

Two members of the Chang Sings use the Beretta 92SB pistol in the Chinese standoff with the Wing Kong. It is noted as an SB model by the rounded trigger guard and ambidextrous safety.

Beretta 92SB - 9x19 mm

A Chang Sing aims his Beretta 92SB.

Another Chang Sing fires a Beretta 92SB at the three storms.

Wing Kong Hatchet Man (Gerald Okamura) is seen with two custom Smith & Wesson Model 19 revolvers in cowboy style holsters. The weapons have been gold plated and have ivory grips.

 Smith & Wesson Model 19 Combat Magnum - .357 Magnum

To find accessories for various handgun magazines, take a look A and G grip extensions

Wing Kong Hatchet Man (Gerald Okamura) with his two gold plated Smith & Wesson Model 19's.

To find out more abou the weapons used in this film you can go

Beverly Hills Cop

is a 1984 action comedy directed by Martin Brest (Midnight Run) and starring Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley, a Detroit Police detective who travels to Beverly Hills to investigate the murder of one of his old friends. Sylvester Stallone was originally cast as Foley, but script problems caused him to leave the production (Stallone would later use some of the elements he developed for this film for his 1986 action movie Cobra). Murphy then was quickly cast in the role, and the film, which turned out to be a huge blockbuster, helped him become one of the biggest movie stars of the 1980's. Murphy would return as Foley in two sequels: Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) and Beverly Hills Cop III (1994).

Reckless but talented Detroit policeman Axel Foley conducts an unauthorized sting operation, using a truck full of cigarettes to attempt to bust two hustlers. The 'deal' is interrupted by two patrolmen, resulting in one criminal fleeing on foot and the other escaping in the truck, with Axel trapped in the back. After an extensive chase, causing widespread damage, the truck crashes and the other man runs off, leaving Axel empty-handed. At the police station, he is severely reprimanded by his boss, Inspector Todd, who informs Axel that if he conducts any further unapproved operations, he will be fired and brought up on charges.

Axel goes home to find his ex-con best friend Mikey Tandino in his apartment, fresh from a job he got in Beverly Hills working for their mutual childhood friend, Jenny Summers. Mikey shows off some German bearer bonds he "borrowed" from his employers, which momentarily concerns Axel, but he is more interested in catching up with his old friend. After a night of drinking, Axel and Mikey return home and are accosted outside Axel's apartment by a burly man Mikey recognizes as Zack. Zack knocks Axel unconscious before he sees anything. He then confronts Mikey about the bearer bonds, then shoots him twice in the head. After the police respond, Axel asks Inspector Todd to be let in on the case, but Todd flatly refuses. Deciding to secretly root around from a different angle, Axel asks for and is granted two weeks' vacation time.

Axel then drives all the way to Beverly Hills, and, masquerading as a reporter for magazine, manages to check into a suite at the high-end Beverly Palm Hotel. He then meets up with his old friend Jenny, who tells Axel that she and Mikey had and are working for art dealer Victor Maitland . Axel finagles his way into Maitland's office, where Zack is shown to be the art dealer's right-hand man. Axel presses Maitland for answers about Mikey, but Maitland has his bodyguards throw Axel out - literally through a glass window on the main floor.

Outside, Axel is confronted by the Beverly Hills police over a report of disturbing the peace. Finding his gun, they arrest him for possessing a concealed weapon, as he cannot afford to identify himself as a police officer. At the station, he is questioned by Sergeant John Taggart and Detective Billy Rosewood. Taggart takes issue with Axel's irreverence and punches him in the stomach. Lieutenant Andrew Bogomil steps in to reprimand Taggart and presses Axel further, adding that he has spoken to Inspector Todd back in Detroit, who hints that Axel will be fired if he finds out that Axel is investigating Mikey's death.

Jenny posts bail to get Axel out, and takes him back to the hotel, tailed all the while by Taggart and Rosewood, who have been assigned to watch him. As the detectives watch and wait across the street from the hotel in an unmarked car, Axel places a late supper order with room service to be delivered to them. He then coaxes a waiter, to give him some bananas from a party tray, which he stuffs into the unmarked car's tailpipe while Rosewood and Taggart are distracted by the room service waiter. When Jenny and Axel leave the hotel, Taggart and Rosewood try to pursue, but their vehicle stalls, thanks to the bananas in the tailpipe.

Axel and Jenny sneak into one of Maitland's warehouses, where they observe two of his men removing bearer bonds from a crate. Axel also discovers some coffee grounds around some of the crates. Axel then has Jenny follow the two men to a loading dock, where he sneaks in alone, noticing that the crate that formerly contained bearer bonds is placed among other crates waiting to be processed. When he crosses paths with a security guard, Axel passes himself off as a Customs inspector, demanding to see the records for all the crates in the warehouse.

When Axel returns to the hotel, he spots Taggart and Rosewood still sitting in the unmarked car, waiting for him. Axel sneaks into the car, startling both men, who are irritable because they lost two days pay over his antics. Axel offers a truce of sorts, by letting them escort him to a gentlemen's club. While there, Axel notices two men entering the club wearing trench coats. Immediately suspicious because it is June he deduces that the men intend to rob the place. Axel's suspicions prove true, and the men produce shotguns from under their coats. Axel and Taggart successfully disarm the would-be robbers, leading to a new sense of respect between them. Later, Axel lies to Bogomil that Taggart and Rosewood had tailed him to the strip club and that they deserve all the credit for the collar, but Taggart and Rosewood admit to Bogomil that they had accepted Axel's invitation to the establishment and that Axel had initiated the takedown. Though thankful that Axel had prevented the robbery, Bogomil is fed up with Rosewood and Taggart's seeming incompetence and assigns two other detectives, Foster and McCabe to tail Axel. Axel gently reprimands Taggart and Rosewood before he leaves, pointing out the lie he told about their actions was working.

The next day, Foster and McCabe catch up to Axel, who is loitering outside Maitland's gated mansion. When Maitland's car emerges from the compound, Axel jumps into his Nova and follows, with the detectives on his tail. Axel artfully loses Foster and McCabe and follows Maitland to a high class country club. He cons the maitre d' into letting him into the banquet hall, where he directly accuses Maitland of killing Mikey. Zack grabs Axel, who counter-throws him into the buffet, which brings the police to the venue. Axel is arrested again.

At the police station, Bogomil demands answers, which Axel finally gives; Maitland is smuggling bearer bonds into the country and he had Mikey killed because he stole some of the bonds. Axel also accuses Maitland of trafficking drugs, thanks to the coffee grounds that Axel found in the warehouse; Bogomil acknowledges that drug traffickers sometimes pack cocaine in piles of coffee grounds to throw off drug-sniffing dogs. Bogomil finally sympathizes with Axel, and is intrigued by the theories he presents, but admits that he cannot arrest Maitland on pure speculation. To make matters worse, Police Chief Hubbard has ordered Axel to leave Beverly Hills, having heard of his numerous indiscretions throughout the city. Bogomil, under orders from Hubbard, tells Rosewood to escort Axel to the city limits.

Axel mentions to Rosewood that Maitland has another shipment due, which he decided not to tell Bogomil once he realized Bogomil couldn't or wouldn't help. Rosewood takes him to see Jenny at the art gallery, where Axel asks for her warehouse key, but she insists on coming along. Rosewood waits in the unmarked car, not being able to go in until Axel and Jenny establish the presence of evidence, otherwise it would be an illegal search. Sneaking into the warehouse, Axel opens a crate that turns out to contain large bags of cocaine hidden inside coffee grounds. Suddenly, Zack and his men appear and take Axel and Jenny at gunpoint. Outside, Rosewood watches helplessly as Maitland and more of his men enter the warehouse. Axel and Maitland exchange words, and Zack admits to Axel that he killed Mikey. Maitland and Zack then leave with Jenny as their hostage, leaving Axel to the mercy of their men. Rosewood finally decides to enter the warehouse and helps Axel to escape. On their way to Maitland's mansion, Rosewood contacts Taggart, telling him about the drugs in the warehouse and to not tell Bogomil about anything. Taggart tells Foster and McCabe to check out the warehouse, then rushes to meet up with Axel and Rosewood.

Axel, Rosewood and a reluctant Taggart sneak in to the mansion's grounds, but are soon pinned down by gunfire from Maitland's men. Back at the station, Bogomil is puzzled by the absence of the four detectives, then hears about a call of shots fired. When he discovers that the address is Maitland's, Bogomil calls for all cars to descend on the mansion.

At the mansion, the police temporarily gain the upper hand, shooting down several gunmen. Axel tells Rosewood and Taggart to cover him as he enters the mansion. Inside, Zack has his weapon drawn and is hunting Axel. The cat-and-mouse game ends with Axel shooting Zack dead. Savoring his victory for a moment, Axel takes a large caliber bullet in his arm, courtesy of Maitland. Bogomil and a fleet of police officers arrive at the compound and arrest Maitland's surveillance and security teams. Inside the mansion, Axel confronts Maitland, who is holding his gun to Jenny's head. Neither man moves, until Bogomil appears behind Axel with his gun pointed at Maitland. Jenny takes advantage of this distraction to escape from Maitland, and Axel and Bogomil empty their guns into Maitland, killing him.

When the smoke clears, Hubbard shows up, demanding answers. Bogomil makes up a story, insisting that he himself had led the investigation into Maitland's activities, thanks to Jenny and Axel's tips, and that Axel was merely an observer at the scene. Skeptical, Hubbard asks Taggart to confirm the story, which he does, having learned his lesson from the strip club incident. Finally, Hubbard decides to accept Bogomil's version of the events. Axel begs Bogomil to talk to Todd in Detroit, saying that if he lost his job in Detroit, he would move to Beverly Hills permanently and work as a private detective. Bogomil promises to clear everything up.

Axel prepares to check out of the Beverly Palm when Rosewood and Taggart arrive. They tell him that Bogomil insisted that they personally escort him to the city limits. When Axel's tab is produced, Taggart informs the desk clerk that the Beverly Hills Police Department will pick it up. Axel is moved by the gesture and hands each detective a hotel bathrobe. The film ends with everyone being amicable.

This film is a lot of fun and has some great action sequences. The dialogue was popularly quoted around water coolers when it was at it's peak in the 80's although has become a cult classic by now. Let's take a look at some of the weapons featured in this film.

Detroit PD Detective Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) carries as his sidearm a Browning Hi-Power pistol. The manufacturer, FN, switched from an internal extractor to the external extractor in the early 1960's which confirms Foley's gun as a post-WWII pistol. The Hi-Power would continue to be his weapon of choice in the subsequent sequels.

Browning Hi-Power - 9x19mm. This is the actual Hero gun - The screen-used BHP held and fired by Eddie Murphy in the film.

Take a look at Bianchi revolver items: Bianchi speed strips

Detroit PD Detective Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) pulls his Browning Hi-Power when he finds his Detroit apartment broken into.

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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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