XIPHOS’ TOP 10 WEAPONS IN FILM
The genesis for this idea grew out of a discussion Jonah and I had one day about lists and the idea was born to do one about the best weapons from movies. Originally the list was going to be about Sci-Fi weapons but I decided to make it about weapons and weapon systems in general across all movie genres. It gave me more choices and honestly, how many people would want to read about the same weapon, over and over again, the laser gun?
This list isn’t tied into the “10 best of the decade” mania currently sweeping across movie related websites like the black plague. I’ve pulled these weapons from many different eras of movies (and real life) to make my point. Please feel free to remind me of the ones I’ve missed because I know I’ve missed a bunch.
10. Firearms from Westerns: Specifically the Colt single action Army revolver, lever action rifles manufactured by Winchester or Henry and the side by side shotgun (the most widely used weapon on the frontier by far) I figure this is a good place to start this list. The SAA revolver and the lever action rifle were amazing pieces of advanced technology that were easily obtainable by the common man and they were tools for work, survival and putting food on your table. Too bad the ammunition technology of the time let these amazing tools down on a regular basis.
9. Original Battlestar Galactica (the better one, yeah I went there): In season 1 episode 15 entitled The Man with Nine Lives is where we find our next weapon of choice. This is the episode with Fred Astaire as Starbuck’s *maybe* old man who got on the wrong side of the Borellian Nomen who are on a blood hunt looking for him. The Nomen are armed with what are called Laser bolas which are just plain bad ass. the laser bola are like conventional bolas except they use lasers to connect the ballast, they decapitate and explode, that’s badass if you ask me. You know what let’s throw in the Battlestar itself and Colonial vipers, they are cool also.
8. The Gunstar as seen in the Last Starfighter: This is a fantastic movie and if you have not seen it I feel sorry for you. The Gunstar class of ships are flown and fought by the pilots and star navigators of Star fighter Command. This movie, besides being flat out awesome and holds up well by the way, is notable for two reasons. First, this is Robert Preston’s final role and it he owns it and it was about the first movie to heavily use CGI. In my opinion its better looking than most of the crud vomited on screen today. Remember this about Gunstars…..“Death Blossum.”
7. The last of the V8 interceptors: Or as most of you would call it, the Mad Max mobile form Mad Max and the Road Warrior. In reality the vehicle started life as a 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT Coupe then the mechanics got a hold of it, rebuilt the engine and stuck on a monster blower and the “on demand button” (which doesn’t exist in real life, aaaargh!, frustration) If you don’t think the Interceptor is a weapon you have not watched the Road Warrior.
6. 3 Bladed Sword from the Sword and the Sorcerer: It’s a 3 bladed sword! That’s cool. Add to the mix that you can launch the blades off the hilt, who wouldn’t think that’s nifty? But wait, there’s more! The three bladed sword wasn’t the only weapon in S&S, no, not by a long shot. Lee Horsley was packing a killer porn ‘stache that mesmerized his enemies and made the maidens swoon.
5. The EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle: If you’ve seen the movie Stripes you’ve seen the EM-50. It’s “one heavily armed recreational vehicle” as wisecracking character John Winger noted. The EM-50 has it all, offensive and defensive capabilities, SATCOM up links, small arms locker and cup holders.
4. The Japanese Katana: The “Samurai” sword is probably the most ubiquitous edged weapon in film and TV and there is a valid reason for this. The Katana is the best designed and manufactured sword in existence. It’s simultaneously flexible and hard. Though primarily a slashing weapon, you can kill with the tip or a stab. It a multifaceted weapon and is just as deadly on the ground as on horseback. Because of it wide spread use in movies and its versatility, the Katana is #4.
3. The “Phaser” from Star Trek: Since at least 1970, I don’t believe there has been a male child that at some point hasn’t pretended that they had a Star Trek Phaser. The Phaser is a particle beam weapon that can deal damage either by completely obliterating its target or it can stun a target into unconsciousness. Also, it added an oft repeated phrase to common usage, “Set Phasers on stun”. The Phaser made the hat trick. On a side note, as a kid I had this Phaser toy that shot hard plastic disks out of it. Too bad the world of toys got ruined by greedy, slimy lawyers and weak in the knees wussy parents. That Phaser was a great toy to use on your friends because if you held them down and shot them with the hard disks you could get some tears flowing. Good times.
2. The Light Saber from Star Wars: C’mon it’s a freaking SWORD made from freaking LIGHT. It can cut through anything in the SW universe, deflect blaster shots and if it wasn’t wielded by complete tools, the Light Saber would have been ranked at number one.
1. The Tetragrammaton Cleric and the Gun Kata from Equilibrium: All weapons in history share one major design defect, the operator. A weapon is only as good as person that uses it. For my money there are no better operators then the Tetragrammaton Clerics because they’ve mastered the Gun Kata. Handguns, shotguns, rifles, Clerics command their use. You can’t outfight a cleric hand-to-hand and if you meet one with a sword, you’re an organ donor. The Tetragrammaton Cleric and the Gun Kata are probably the best single idea I’ve ever seen committed to film and for that they’ve earned the coveted first spot on this list.
Honorable Mention Weapons
These are in no particular order of badassery. It’s cool stuff I like.
Remington 870 Shotgun in the combat configuration. The Thompson M1921, the M79 and M203 Grenade launchers, the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, M40A3, my tomahawk, any blade weapon, the Red Ryder BB from Christmas Story, The Predator hunting suit, the Smith & Wesson Model 29, 10 and 19 Combat Magnum, the Webley revolver, the Browning Hi-Power, Chewbacca’s Laser crossbow, ships of the line a la Master and Commander, Chingachook’s battle staff from Last of the Mohican’s, The Klingon Bat’leth from Star Trek, the Death Star, the Snow Speeder from Empire. Also a shout out to any other cool thing I forgot about.
A LOVE LETTER TO
THE GREATEST WEAPON EVER CREATED BY MAN
The Colt government model 1911 (and its smaller configuration the Colt Combat Commander chambered in the .45 ACP round) is the best weapon ever made by man so far and has earned special recognition status. This fine pistol has been combat tested all over the world in every climate and continent and has never failed to do its duty.
The 1911 is the end all and be all of pistols and it buries all comers. The 1911 is the grand mack daddy of semi automatic hand guns and every pistol created since Ares smiled on the hand of John Browning owes its existence to the 1911. So far none has match or surpassed the Colt 1911 in reliability and lethality. Many thanks to you John Moses Browning and your particular genius in creating firearms.