A Clear Shot Review – Compelling Hostage Drama Resonates

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A Clear Shot, from Uncork'd Entertainment, presents the story of the 1991 Good Guys Electronics Store siege in Sacramento, the backstory of the gunmen, the internal strife with the Sacramento PD all leading to a climatic ending.

Directed and written by Nick Leisure, A Clear Shot stars Mario Van Peebles, Marshal Hilton, Jessica Meza, Mandela Van Peebles, Michael Balin, Rafael Siegel, Aldo Quintero Torres, David Fernandez Jr., Lance Woods, Tony Dew, Kevin Bach, Sandra Gutierrez, Hao Do, Dang Tran, Jeanne Carr, Diana Acevedo, Scytorya Rhodes, Justin Nesbitt, and Val Victa.

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A Clear Shot opens with a wide-angle camera pan of Sacramento, California, and narrows to a shopping plaza and then inside Leisure Guys Electronics. A typical day for the appliance store, we meet the three employees, and several of the shoppers before the gunmen arrive.

Four masked Asian gunmen storm the store herding the forty shoppers, men, women, and children, into the front of the store. Two store employees, Hugh, played by Lance Woods, and Chip, played by Justin Nesbitt, manage to hide behind the register, and make the first 911 call.

Within minutes, Sacramento PD and California Sheriff deputies arrive on the scene, along with Rick Gomez, Sacramento Police Departments' top negotiator, played by Mario Van Peebles, partnering with him, Detective Kappy, played by Marshall Hilton, and working the parameter, Deputy Advencula, played by Jessica Meza.

As the hostage drama unfolds, the four men immigrants from Thailand are lost in the middle of their crime, with no real plan, and only the desire to return to their homeland, and the belief that they can trade the hostages for safe passage home.

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On the outside, Gomez continues to talk to the "Thailand." His first set of demands begin the negotiator With Hugh, the store supervisor, escaping and opening the warehouse entrance, Chip, the secondary employee in charge, called the police telling them about the warehouse.

Sheriff Todd, played by Michael Balin, and a trigger-happy SWAT team leader, Devlin, breeches the back entrance and just as they were ready to enter the store, a steel gate drops. The team retreats.

Gomez, by this time, had spent about four hours negotiating with the four teenagers, securing the release of a mom and two children. The drama continues to escalate as the father of three of the gunmen is brought to the scene and tries to get them to surrender.

The film moves between the hostage drama and the daily life of the four gunmen, Loi Khac Nguyen, Pham Khac Nguyen, Long Khac Nguyen, and Cuong Tran, the life a new immigrant, the rejection, the loss of hope, the challenges of earning a living with no status, the hardship, which is echoed by one of the hostages, Wilma, played by Sandra Gutierrez, who says, "Only the white man has it easy."

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A Clear Shot, the adaptation of the 1991 Good Guys Electronics Store Siege in Sacramento, presents a compelling drama, with heightened suspense, a solid well told condensed story of the nearly nine-hour standoff.

The film also examines the underlying currents of duplicity and internal departmental struggles as the police, sheriff, and SWAT each have their own ideas how the situation should end.

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The emotional trials, social pressures, and hardships of immigrant assimilation into American culture and the ethnic chasm that divides society is clearly presented. The hostages and police are a melting pot of diversity, each had to fight for a place on the free side of the cell, and this hurdle becomes the plank blocking the vision of the Asian immigrants, as they either believed the fairy tale or expected change immediately.

The ensemble cast carries the film with each giving solid authentic performances. A true crime drama, with heightened intensified suspense, if the ending is unknown going into the film, the ending is unexpected.

A Clear Shot premieres June 2, 2020 on both DVD and VOD.

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