The antithesis of the all too common ‘balletic’ form of cinema violence, Dan Reed’s 2001 feature Shooters is a raw slice of brutality set in a Liverpool underworld populated by ferocious men-children. These swollen balls of muscle fuel themselves with an explosive cocktail of cocaine and steroids and settle arguments with schoolyard-style 'straighteners,' only here with cocked pistols and teeth bared to tear off ears and faces. However, Reed refuses to revel in this tidal wave of testosterone, preferring to watch it crash on the shore and dissipate into fear and paranoia.
Performed by non-professionals who actually lived the life, the ad-libbed scenes remain unpolished but have a frightening authenticity, perhaps one reason why Shooters caused outrage when originally shown on C4. This DVD release is welcome but perhaps it would be more valuable to screen the film again on TV as a rebuke to the glamour of gun violence hypnotising today’s disenfranchised youth.