Movie Review: Another Variation on “Girl with a Gun”

There have been several films titled “Girl with a Gun” or something very near that.

It’s catchy, alliterative and tells you what you think you need to know in just a couple of words.

There’s an attractive younger woman, and something in her life has forced, caused or tempted her into picking up a gun and taking matters into her own hands.

The title also builds in expectations, of pistol packing mayhem, epic shootouts, maybe a female-with-firearms learning curve.

That’s where this latest “Girl with a Gun,” written and directed by Kevin M. White, filmed and set in Louisiana, lets us down.

It’s got the beautiful young woman — Ronni Hawk, an alumna of the girl-growing up TV series “Stuck in the Middle.” We meet her at the firing range (in a different hair color), riddling a male target’s crotch with her pistol.

But it’s pretty bad, right from the start. The non-actors with her at the range don’t know how to marvel at her accuracy, or amusingly act intimidated by it. Nothing else is done with the scene — no compliments, crude come-ons, zilch.

That’s followed by a non-actor/ bad-actor packed argument, threat and pick-up vs. ATV chase involving a lot of shooting by guys who never hit what they’re shooting at. The ATV hurtles down a road, and never is used to its get-away advantage, OFF road.

Our practice range princess, Tomi (Hawk) then gets a call at her job tending bar in (I guess) New Orleans. Momma’s shot Daddy, then shot herself. As we’ve seen the threats and the murderously corrupt local sheriff (John Swider) already, we know better.

Writer-director White then proceeds to dawdle and fritter away the next hour on an emotion-free “sad” homecoming, dull reconnecting with assorted locals — the family friend (Ben Martin Williams) who called her with the bad news, the drawling neighbor who brings over “my world famous” hot dish, the loyal employee (Jeremy London) in the family crawdad business, assorted toughs.

The setting promises “bayou” but never gets that swampy.

And the big finale isn’t so much shoot-outs as executions with the bad guys getting the drop on our shorts-and-belly-shirted leading lady time after time and miraculously never finishing the job. It’s as if our filmmaker, like his villains, gets lost in his dreamy leading lady and forgets to TCB.

You make a promise when you title your movie “Girl with a Gun.” That’s a promise this version of that title never keeps.

Rating: TV-MA, violence

Cast: Ronni Hawk, Jeremy London, Ben Martin Williams, John Swider and Armando Leduc

Credits: Scripted and directed by Kevin M. White. A Tubi release.

Running time: 1:24

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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