The Stand-Off: Tarantino sure loves his stand-offs, and his debut Dogs climaxes with one of his best.
Mr Blonde is dead. Mr Orange lies in a widening pool of blood. A bleeding cop is strapped to a chair, his right ear missing.
Enter Joe, who accuses Mr Orange of working for the LAPD. Mr White doesn’t believe him. Weapons are drawn in a three-way stand-off between Joe, Nice Guy Eddie and Mr White.
“We’re supposed to be fucking professionals!” yells Mr Pink. It ends badly.
Who Shoots First? Joe Cabot.
The Matrix Revolutions
The Stand-Off: “Give me the eyes of the oracle, and I will give you back your saviour,” teases the Merovingian in Club Hel as The Matrix Revolutions opens.
Unimpressed, Trinity, Morpheus and Seraph lay a smackdown on Merv’s surrounding lackeys, resulting in a CGI gun rotating mid-air above the action, which Trinity then catches.
And points at Merv’s head. Initiating a 27-person stand-off, as over two dozen leather-wearing buffoons stand gun-to-face-to-gun.
Who Shoots First? Nobody, Trinity bargains their way out of the potential bloodbath.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Stand-Off: Perhaps the greatest existing example of the three-way Mexican stand-off, and a classic exercise in breath-bating, heart-pounding tension. Remember the Reservoir Dogs ' face-off? It's based on this.
Confronted by Sentenza at the Sad Hill Cemetery, uneasy gold hunting partners Blondie and Tuco form a triangular stalemate at the cemetery’s centre.
With fast edits and close-ups that trace every bead of sweat, this six minute face-off deserves its classic status.
Who Shoots First? Blondie. Naturally.
Urban Legends: Final Cut
The Stand-Off: A fun twist that spices up the end of an otherwise routine slasher sequel.
Before she starred in House , Jennifer Morrison was the heroine in John Ottman’s directorial debut. Faced with a murderous professor on a film school’s sound stage, a scuffle scatters a load of prop guns across the floor.
Somewhere in the mix is a real gun. As the principal cast scramble to arm themselves, which one will end up with the real deal?
Who Shoots First? Amy (Morrison).
The Quick and the Dead
The Stand-Off: Having already taken the life of a young Leonardo DiCaprio (his own son, no less), Gene Hackman's stock baddie gets his comeuppance against The Lady in Sam Raimi’s love letter to Sergio Leone.
Seeking revenge for the death of her father, The Lady does what a floppy-haired Russell Crowe can’t. In the wake of an explosion, she steps through ash and fire to confront Hackman’s John Herod (what’s in a name?).
Then she puts a bullet in him so big that sunlight streams through the gaping hole.
Who Shoots First? The Lady.
Back to the Future Part III
The Stand-Off: It’s 1557, and Marty McFly has travelled back to the Wild West. Going under the name Clint Eastwood (of course), he gets on the wrong side of local ingrate Buford ‘Mad Dog’ Tannen.
As the clock strikes eight, they sweat in the sunshine, hands hovering inches from their weapons. Then McFly throws down his gun.
Mad Dog shoots him anyway. He’s mad, that one.
Luckily, Marty has seen A Fistful of Dollars and has protected himself accordingly...
Who Shoots First? Mad Dog.
Shaun of the Dead
The Stand-Off: Barricaded in local pisshole The Winchester, Shaun and co are besieged by zombies. Opportunely, Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ comes on to motivate them in their bashing of some undead brains.
But then Shaun’s mum starts to show signs of turning into a flesh-muncher. Everybody argues over what to do, leading to a stand-off between a gun-toting Shaun and his broken-bottle-clutching mates. It looks a bit like Reservoir Dogs .
In the end, Shaun makes the right decision.
Who Shoots First? Shaun.
Tears of the Black Tiger
The Stand-Off: Cartoon violence featuring blood the consistency of paint, and colours that would make Speed Racer weep.
Following a fiery, no-holds-barred shoot out, Dum faces Mahesuan in the rain. Drawing their guns, the downpour pounds them from all sides. Then a droplet dribbles through a hole in Mahesuan’s hat, temporarily breaking his concentration.
Seizing the opportunity, Dum fires. Their bullets collide mid-air, flashing sparks, then smash through Mahesuan’s teeth, killing him.
Who Shoots First? Dum.
The Stand-Off: Trapped by the Triad in an abandoned church, Ah Jong’s climactic confrontation is a beautifully choreographed shoot-out from the master of action, Mr John Woo.
Cue symbolic doves, shattered church windows, exploding religious images...
After the Westerns, Woo made shoot-outs cool again, and this scene has been cannibalised in countless later efforts.
Who Shoots First? Too many bullets flying to tell.
The Stand-Off: Antonio Banderas walks in slow-mo and carries a guitar case that contains a gun in Rob Rodriguez's fiery Western.
Fearing that El Mariachi is the ‘Man in Black’ whom Bueschmi has warned them against, the bar patrons hold Mariachi at gunpoint when he stops by for a drink.
Checking his guitar case, they find no evidence of any weaponry.
Preparing to kill him anyway, Mariachi defends himself in the nick of time by popping out two previously hidden pistols and shooting his way to victory.
Who Shoots First? El Mariachi.
Romancing the Stone
The Stand-Off: Having successfully procured the El Corazon jewel, author Joan Wilder meets vagabond Ira at a disused military fortress in order to give him the treasure map and save her sister's life.
But corrupt policeman Zolo turns up, and knows Wilder has the jewel hidden somewhere. When the heroic Jack pitches up with the jewel, he faces off against Zolo and Ira.
Eventually, Jack is forced to surrender the jewel to Zolo... Who has his hand chewed off by a hungry crocodile...
Who Shoots First? The croc?
A Fistful of Dollars
The Stand-Off: Clint Eastwood heads up another classic climactic stand-off at the pinnacle of Sergio Leone’s dramatic Western.
The Man with No Name returns to San Miguel to have a showdown with the Rojo gang.
Having survived being shot at by the Mexicans thanks to a cleverly concealed metal slab, No Name takes a final stand against evil Mexican Ramon. They grab, load and fire their weapons in a breakneck confrontation that would test any man's nerves...
No Name is the victor.
Who Shoots First? Both at the same time.