Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wrong, Dead Wrong

Steve and Friends,

SECOND UPDATE: Alternative gripes substituted 

UPDATE: MATT ERRS IN FIREARM ID.  Lawd.  How funny is that title now? The following gripe is totally without basis (see gun link).  But I leave it intact, like a coyote pelt on a fence, as a warning to others who dare to tread where they have no business.  

A bit tangential, but I just saw the new Bond flick, "Skyfall," and enjoyed it. This latest installment is a return for the franchise to some of its traditional themes and trappings, and at least a half-turn away from the "James Bond as Jason Bourne" meme, where 007 was reduced to a martial arts expert and hired assassin. The villain of Skyfall, a severely disgruntled former agent played by Javier Bardeme, was the best, maybe, ever.

But I have a gripe, and I wonder if anyone else caught it?

  • Bond's iconic Aston Martin DB5 actually a Subaru Outback with after-market modifications
  • Ancestral Bond family home on Scottish moor actually a flat in East London
  • Latest "Bond girl,"  model/actor Bérénice Marlohe actually actor/comedian Zach Galifianakis

At the climactic scene near the end, where an outmatched Bond and friends face a squadron of para-military killers, 007 is told by the family's Scottish gamekeeper, "The only gun we have left is your father's old hunting rifle."

Bond nods gravely at this news and picks up the offered side-by-side, breech loading shotgun, noting his father's initials on the stock. He then proceeds to test the accuracy of this "rifle" by shooting a can off a post from about 70 yards away.

I'm no gun guy and can't tell you if a shotgun could do that, but even I can tell you that the firearm Bond shoots couldn't possibly be his "father's old hunting rifle," and that no retired gamekeeper would claim it was, and no MI6 operative with a license to kill would accept that it was. It took me 10 minutes of non-stop gunplay after that line to get my head back in the story.

Hollywood...! All the millions of dollars spent on that movie, the dozens of writers and advisors and presumably weapons experts, untold numbers of viewings prior to release, and no one caught that line? Just one edit: "All we have left is your Dad's favorite bird gun," and the movie would be perfect.

Well, except for the ending. But I won't spoil it.


BorderWars said...

While I really enjoyed the attempt to make the ending more intimate and claustrophobic, that line brought on flashes of "this is my rifle, this is my gun" from Kubric's Full Metal Jacket. And given that it was in fact an old bird gun, my next thought was why not one of those 6 feet long punt guns hanging over the mantle? That would have been a fun addition.

The problem with the ending though is that it didn't make much sense as a strategy. Give up the protections of MI-6 to retreat to a remote location, leave a hidden trail for your enemy to follow, but have to real plans for a trap save whatever guns and such you can find at a place you haven't seen in years.

Then the bad guys show up with a gun ship, ruining that home invasion sort of vibe you had going (echoes of Patriot Games).

As for the old bird at the end, that's usually what happens on an estate like that, the rich tourists come with overly expensive guns, tear the place up, and only manage to wing the old and infirm birds.

Anonymous said...


The gun that Bond uses is a double barrel 500 Nitro Express big game rifle. It is made by Anderson & Wheeler, British naturally. Check out the link for the story:

It starts at 28:00 min. If you are not familiar with the show, Field Sports Britain, it is a youtube channel show that is on everyone Wed. Sometimes falconry and running dogs are featured but it is mostly shooting and fishing related. Good show though.


Tyler Williamson said...

.....and then....they saw the barrels off the 'rifle' to make it a close quarter battle 'sawed-off' shotgun, er, rifle.

I agree with you buddy. Maybe all the folks in the U.K. are cool with it because nobody has guns any more.

I'm not cool with it....not one bit!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Anderson Wheeler Double .500 Nitro. It's a gorgeous piece and a photo of it adorns my computer desck top. As close as I'll ever get...

You might check out this piece:

As for giving up the protection of MI-6 and leading the villain off to a remote location,, remember that M had said no one else was to die for her. Except maybe Bond. She wasn't worried about that.

Jim Cornelius

Matt Mullenix said...

Zac-- OK, so you're telling me that thing Bond was stuffing shells into was a rifle? Not a shotgun? Because it looked like a shotgun and shot (except for the target practice) like a shotgun; and the shells looks like shotgun shells.

But I've said I am no gun guy, which doesn't even approach my true lack of knowledge about firearms. And if the Bond gun is a rifle, I stand corrected. Gratefully, too, because I didn't want to lose faith in Hollywood. :-)

Looking up the Nitro as we speak...

Matt Mullenix said...

OK Zac, Jim: I do stand corrected.

Tyler, check out Jim's link...

Anonymous said...


Not my bag, but, things are not always what they seem...In UK and Europe, many shooters shoot running game(mainly deer and boar, but often much larger game such as Water Buffalo) ) with "Double rifles " which look like shotguns(either S/S or U/O), but have rifled barrels, and extremely strong actions.

Originally , hunters trusted the double gun format when facing "Big Game,in the Colonies", as they proved less likely to fail than reloading a rifle for a second shot ( when your life was at risk!).

For examples, see Bruchet Darne, as Herve probably makes more double rifle weapons than shotguns currently .


Matt Mullenix said...

Johnny, thank you. I am enjoying the tart, unfamiliar taste of humility! I had no idea they made rifles like this...

Steve, please intervene in my behalf and tell us about the time you once mistook a pistol for a banana?

Peculiar said...

Nothing like a moderate amount of knowledge to get you into trouble! We've all been there, Matt, at least all of us who cast a wide net of curiosity about the world. I have certainly learned never again to show off my dilettante's knowledge of Hamito-Semitic linguistics.

Nathaniel Fitch said...

You dun goofed!

Matt Mullenix said...

I am committed to a lifetime of learning.

Anonymous said...


We have all done it! easy mistake, misreading a familiar photo!!

No one thinks the less of your always eloquent and knowledgeable comments...