Mario Van Peebles and Christopher Lambert classic Gunmen

Mario Van Peebles and Christopher Lambert classic Gunmen

Mario Van Peebles remembers the fun 90s action movie Gunmen, which sparked a long-lasting friendship with co-star Christopher Lambert.

gunmen 1994

The other day, one of our writers sat down with Mario Van Peebles to talk about his upcoming spiritual sequel to Posse, Outlaw Posse. In the pretty awesome conversation, we asked Mario about what we consider a pretty underrated movie of his, Gunmen. This 1994 action flick paired him with Christopher Lambert, with an all-star cast that included Denis Leary as the film’s villain, Patrick Stewart, and nineties dream girl Brenda Bakke, as well as 90s rappers like Big Daddy Kane, Eric B, Rakim, Doctor Dre and Ed Lover – who all played themselves. It’s a tough movie to find these days, but Peebles had fond memories of what they were trying to accomplish with it. 

Gunmen tips a hat to The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. My character, Christophe’s character, and the other character have a piece of the puzzle as to where the cachet of gold is. And we also have serious trust issues, but for good reasons…”

Indeed, Peebles is playing an Eastwood-esque figure (The Good) while Lambert is like the movie’s version of Eli Wallach (The Ugly), and Leary is definitely Lee Van Cleef (The Bad). Peebles mentioned that one of the best things about making that movie was the friendship he developed with Lambert, with the two getting along so well Peebles and him re-teamed immediately after for Highlander: The Final Dimension (which we just did a WTF episode about).

“Lambert was fun. We had a blast on that movie,” remembered Peebles. “And you can never understand him (laughs), the guy should have subtitles. I go to talk to him, ‘Chris what did you think’, and he goes  ‘Oui, tres, tres bien, we go over there Mario – you know what I’m saying! (Mario throws his hands up in confusion). No one knows what he said!”

Despite language issues, Peebles had nothing but love for his co-star. “But we had so much fun. We had this scene – we just made up stuff – there’s a scene where he’s trying to get the information on this gold, but he has me prisoner and we’re by this campfire at night. And my character’s asleep, and I’m chained up so he won’t let me free,” he remembers. “So I doze off and he’s trying to stay awake so he can talk to me because I’m sleep-talking. So I’m talking to him in my sleep, ‘the gold, the gold,’ so he comes right up to my face, ‘yes, yes, where is the gold’ and I start going, ‘Ooh baby, I’ll tell ya, just gimme a kiss,’ and he starts leaning in to kiss me, and I go, ‘you would have kissed me, you stupid son-of-a- (starts laughing) and we messed with each other. In life, we did that because we just clowned out and crazy stuff we did would come out, so it was a really fun time. We shot it down in Puerto Vallarta, and we just had a blast, man!”

Sadly, Gunmen is one of those movies that are really hard to find in a decent HD copy nowadays, with only an older DVD edition being widely available. Hopefully someone will dig this (and another great Lambert title – Fortress) up and give it a nice release. Do you think Gunmen deserves a Best Movie You Never Saw episode? Let us know in the comments! And, for more Christopher Lambert – check out a recent episode of WTF Happened to this Celebrity we did on him!

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