This story based on the biggest hostage situation in the United States is a well done drama from filmmaker Nick Leisure.
In 1991, a group of four Vietnamese teens decide to make their name known by doing something unbelievable. They decide to hold the Leisure Guys electronic store hostage and everyone in it, including customers and staff members. The group is made up of brothers Loi, Long, Pham, and their family friend Cuong. They hold everyone hostage but the manager and a co-worker who call the police in hopes to resolve the matter.
Rick Gomez is the negotiator in charge of making sure the hostages are safe and no one gets hurt. At first, Loi makes his demands but deep down, he also wants to be sure he doesn’t have to hurt anyone. Unlike his brother Long, who is quite trigger happy and more than willing to hurt anyone if their demands are not met. Rick and Loi both want a peaceful solution, but while Loi has the trigger happy Long, Rick finds himself in a situation where both the police captain and SWAT commander are willing to bust through in order to stop the hostage takers.
On April 4, 1991, the Good Guys hostage situation became the biggest in U.S. history. The siege, which lasted through the end of the night, resulted in six fatalities and Loi Nguyen serving consecutive life sentences in prison. Writer-director Nick Leisure made this film that depicts what could have actually happened throughout the course of the day.
In an interesting move, he gives the role of Loi, played by Hao Do, while the leader of the kidnappers a role that makes him more of a sympathetic one as he comes to grips to what he has done and what’s more interesting is his reasoning for leading the charge in the first place. The reasoning is seen in flashback sequences that lead to the siege.
The great Mario Van Peebles is great as Rick Gomez, the police negotiator whose attempts to talk Loi down start out futile but eventually come to light. Whereas Loi finds himself having to deal with his hot-headed brother, played by Tony Dew, Gomez finds himself in a situation where he must deal with not one, but two who just think storming in and stopping the kidnappers will ensure everyone’s safety. However, in a way, we get a bit of karma in terms of the character of Kappy, played by Marshal Hilton, when he is forced to bring Loi a bulletproof vest in nothing but his jockeys.
The film is more about two sides who attempt to bring one of the tense situations without resorting to any sort of bloodshed and ensuring the hostages’ safety despite having people around them who think otherwise.
A Clear Shot takes a real-life situation and gives a chance for the responsible party to do just that, be responsible for his actions with Mario Van Peebles showing why he is still one of the best actors out there in the role of the negotiator who attempts to help the leader come to his senses.
WFG RATING: B+
Uncork’d Entertainment presents a Leisure Films production. Director: Nick Leisure. Producer: Abigail Carrillo. Writer: Nick Leisure. Cinematography: Jorge Roman. Editing: Peter Brewer.
Cast: Mario Van Peebles, Glenn Plummer, Hao Do, Tony Dew, Marshal Hilton, Mandela Van Peebles, Jessica Meza, Justin Nesbitt, Sandra Gutierrez, Michael Balin, Kevin Bach, Dang Tran.