Composite by Kenna Milaski/Coffee or Die Magazine.
There’s something great about mixing violence and comedy. Stirring gore and laughs into the same pot is why horror and comedy often go hand in hand; think Army of Darkness, What We Do in the Shadows, and Zombieland. In the same way that some of the best zombie films trade screams for laughs, shootouts saturated in slapstick can be just as good as those with more serious battlefield heroics. As promised in “5 of the Most Memorable Shootout Scenes in Movie History,” here is the definitive list of the best comedic shootouts.
We’re starting the list off right with the best war comedy ever made (sorry, Stripes). Ben Stiller’s movie about a movie about a book that never happened was an instant classic. It’s safe to assume that anyone who spent time in combat after 2008 served alongside at least one person who quoted this movie under fire — it’s just that quotable. The Vietnam spoof opens with fake trailers and then lands in the middle of a hot LZ, where the rotor wash quickly stirs up equal clouds of hysterics and blood.
Quentin Tarantino is the master of aesthetic violence. From Pulp Fiction to Kill Bill, Tarantino uses excessive amounts of blood and guts to delight the senses. His 2012 Western Django Unchained might be the best example of Tarantino’s unmatched ability to make violence a joy to watch. The movie’s climactic gunfight pits Jamie Foxx against a plantation full of slavers and klansmen, and man does the scene deliver. Bullets seemingly whiz past the audience, and blood erupts in slow-motion geysers. Foxx wields a six-shooter better than The Duke himself, and it’s all set against a Tupac/James Brown mashup we never knew we needed. Enjoy.
Hot Fuzz is the only British comedy to make the list, but Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are an unstoppable comedy duo who deserve a list all their own. A supercop reluctantly partners with a Bad Boys fanboy to tear down a crime ring in a quaint English village. Their investigation into a string of murders comes to a head in the form of one of the funniest gunfights of all time. Complete with an old woman rocking an MP34 and a priest with a lethal trick up his sleeve, Hot Fuzz is worthy of an annual rewatch.
The 2008 stoner-comedy has great one-liners and a killer soundtrack, but it also has an underrated shootout. After witnessing a murder, Seth Rogen and James Franco attempt to take matters into their own hands. They quickly realize they’ve bitten off more than they can chew, and hilarity ensues as they tangle with violent drug traffickers. The epic gunfight takes place inside an underground marijuana farm and has everything from nonsensical hand-and-arm signals to AK-47s being fired overhead, Somali-style. It even has a fluorescent-lightbulb sword fight stuffed in the middle of it. It doesn’t matter whether you’re as high as the gunfighters or sober as a judge; you’re guaranteed to laugh.
Rounding off the list is the movie that made me stop hating Channing Tatum. The Magic Mike/GI Joe actor is actually hilarious. He teamed up with Jonah Hill to create one of the funniest gunfights in recent years. Johnny Depp makes a hilarious, albeit short-lived, cameo. Not yet Captain Marvel, Brie Larson trips balls while the bullets fly. The shootout is 10 minutes of laughs crammed into a gunfight between narcs, bikers, a track-and-field coach, and an angry girlfriend. Be sure to watch the entire movie, if only so you can see Rob Riggle get his dick shot off.
Mac Caltrider is a senior staff writer for Coffee or Die Magazine. He served in the US Marine Corps and is a former police officer. Caltrider earned his bachelor’s degree in history and now reads anything he can get his hands on. He is also the creator of Pipes & Pages, a site intended to increase readership among enlisted troops. Caltrider spends most of his time reading, writing, and waging a one-man war against premature hair loss.
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