Based on true events, 44 Minutes delivers non-stop action that really has amazing quality for a TV flick. It reminded me of another TV movie that surprised me in the same way: The Runner. A bloody shoot-out that actually happened answered the question of what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object: eventually, the object becomes movable. The sheer insanity of two heavily armed and armored guys having a firefight with the entire LAPD is enough to make you check out this flick. In this stale movie environment, 44 Minutes ignites the spark of not creativity but the right choices. We have seen hundreds of movies with ludicrous plots and totally unrealistic action in the past couple of years. Why there’s no blockbuster telling of this shoot-out is beyond me.
Perhaps, because this movie is that good, especially when you consider the cast. Mario, Michael and Ron Fucking Livingston, all experienced actors who knew the limitations of this format and budget, gave their best. And it shows. Actually, because these are not some A-listers, the movie’s got that gritty, left-for-dead vibe. Along with palpable tension, this creates a very engaging atmosphere, where you are constantly wondering what the fuck is going to happen next and how this wasn’t over in five minutes… With over 40.000 blanks fired, 30 destroyed police cars and 5.000 bullet hole squibs used, you can’t say that this movie didn’t go all the way.
44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shoot-Out follows robbers after a failed bank robbery and their shootout with the police. Heavily armored and with an arsenal of high caliber weapons they will deliver terror and death to the city, police, and everything else in between.
And the special treat is that it really happened exactly as it’s portrayed in this movie. Well, some details have been altered, but it’s really not important whether the robbers were packing AR-15 with full-length barrels or shortened. Scenes are not so pretty and everything seems rugged and tough, but that’s how it is in real life. The half-documentary style they used here worked great and it pulled the viewer into this crazy event even more. And here’s an interesting piece of trivia for ya: Megadeth, one of the best thrash metal bands, recorded a song 44 Minutes, inspired by this movie. And if you want to learn more about the robbery, check out this link: North Hollywood shootout.
When you think about it, 44 minutes is a long fucking time. Hell, I remember watching in awe a five-minute shootout at the end of Wild Bunch and thinking that this can’t be surpassed. Apart from insanely fun Free Fire and Shoot ’em Up and all the shooting sequences in commercial movies like John Wick, Matrix and others, you rarely get this realistic gun carnage extravaganza. And I have to mention Heat with its immaculately shot and executed hellish shootout. Of course, I am not talking about war movies, where this type of violence is expected. Here are a couple of honorable mentions with really long shootout scenes: Replacement Killers, Hard Boiled and LA Confidential.
Director: Yves Simoneau
Writer: Tim Metcalfe
Cast: Michael Madsen, Ron Livingston, Mario Van Peebles, Ray Baker, Katrina Law
Fun Stuff: Scenes on the residential streets where the robbers tried escaping from the bank were filmed on the actual locations behind the real bank.