High-Tech: The Mummy

Did I miss something? Are we going into battle?

‒ “Evie” Carnahan, The Mummy (1999)


Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy (1999) is one of my favourite pulp fiction movies. It combines a great story with lovable characters, mummy-hunting, and lots of period equipment. Professional treasure hunter Richard “Rick” O’Connell alias “Ricochet” O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) is so adept at monster-hunting that he carries a dedicated kit bag stuffed with weapons with him around (GURPS Loadouts: Monster Hunters, pp. 8-9). Let’s take a look at what he has in there.

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Tactical Shooting: Justified

It was justified.

– Raylan Givens, Justified #1.1 (2010)

Justified (2010-2015) is a television series inspired by the Leonard Elmore character Raylan Givens, who appeared in his novels Pronto (1993) and Riding the Rap (1995), and most importantly in the novella Fire in the Hole (2001). Givens (Timothy Olyphant) is a Deputy US Marshal who has a tendency to get into gunfights. As a former shooting instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia, he is uniquely skilled for that. Justified is a fun show, with interesting storylines and quirky characters. Remarkably for a telly series, the shootouts are also fairly well done.

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Gun Fu: The Matrix

Guns. Lots of guns.

– Neo, The Matrix (1999)


The Matrix (1999) by the Wachowskis was a defining film for the Gun Fu genre, and it featured prominently among our inspirations for GURPS Gun Fu.

Of the many shootouts in the film, I will take a closer look at the one in the lobby of the government building here, to see how it would play out in GURPS terms. Watch just the scene here (the action starts at 0:25).

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Tactical Shooting: Ronin

C’est pas parce-que on veut achéter des flingues on n’est pas armé.

– Spence in Ronin (1998)

John Frankenheimer’s Ronin (1998) is an awesome thriller set in a shadowy world of freelance agents following the end of the Cold War. An IRA splinter cell operating in Paris, France, hires a team of mercenaries to “secure a package.” Among them are ex-CIA agent Sam (Robert De Niro), ex-DGSE agent Vincent (Jean Reno), and Spence (Sean Bean), who claims he is ex-SAS.

The melancholic atmosphere and the depiction of professionals adept at tradecraft, gunplay, and driving skills have made it an important influence for both Investigator Weapons 2: Modern Day and Ken Hite’s Night’s Black Agents. It was a primary source for GURPS Tactical Shooting, as well. Here I analyse one of several gunfights in GURPS terms. Watch just the scene here (the action starts at 1:56).

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Tactical Shooting/Martial Arts: John Wick

John is a man of focus. Commitment. Sheer will.

– Viggo Tarasov in John Wick (2014)

John Wick (2014) is a revenge movie that almost entirely relies on its action scenes. Story-wise, all we need to know is that John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a former hit man who comes out of retirement to exact his revenge on an army of Russian mobsters.

John Wick came out after the publication of GURPS Gun Fu and GURPS Tactical Shooting and therefore was not analysed in GURPS terms for those books. Note that I mention both books, which were originally written as mutually exclusive variations on a similar theme. In general, Tactical Shooting serves to model realistic gunfights, while Gun Fu is intended for over-the-top, totally cinematic gunplay. My initial reaction to this film was that it is Gun Fu, but on review and reflection the movie as a whole is certainly cinematic, set in an alternate New York that is almost out of a graphic novel, but most of the actual fight components are not. In fact, it can be used with considerable success to visualize many elements found in Tactical Shooting and GURPS Martial Arts.

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Martial Arts: Sherlock

I’m a doctor, I know how to sprain people.

– John Watson in Sherlock #3.3 (2014)

I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, and the modern retelling offered by the BBC’s Sherlock (2010-) is great. I am not too keen on the actual stories, but the chemistry between the main characters, all of them great actors, is brilliant, as are many of the details. The following scene from the episode “His Last Vow” (Sherlock #3.3) shows an often underplayed side of Dr John Watson. The good doctor has always been a man of action, but he is seldom allowed to prove it in the various dramatizations. In this brief but hilariously funny scene we are reminded that Watson is a former British Army Captain with three years’ service in Afghanistan. The specifics warrant a detailed analysis in GURPS terms.

This article is part of the Melee Academy.

Stop reading if you want to avoid SPOILERS.

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Martial Arts: The Maltese Falcon

Why did you strike me after I was disarmed?

– Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon (1930)

The Maltese Falcon (1930) is one of the best of Dashiell Hammett’s novels. It follows private eye Sam Spade in San Francisco as he unravels the mystery of the Maltese Falcon, a jewel-encrusted gold statuette of immeasurable worth. As is typical in a Hammett story, he has to play off several parties against one other to emerge unharmed, if not victorious.

The novel has been made into a motion picture several times, the best rendition being of course the third one by John Huston. His Film Noir classic The Maltese Falcon (1941) boasts, among others, Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade and Peter Lorre as Joel Cairo, one of the shady characters who are after the Falcon.

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Tactical Shooting: Collateral

Yo, Homie!

– Vincent in Collateral (2004)

Michael Mann’s Collateral (2004) is an excellent film, even though the premise of the story is a bit forced: A professional hit man, Vincent, is hired by a Colombian drug cartel to kill a whole bunch of witnesses on one night-long cab ride in Los Angeles. Despite the plot holes, the film features excellent photography, music, and of course the acting performance by the two leads, Tom Cruise as Vincent and Jamie Foxx as the cabbie Max Durocher.

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