Great Job, Internet!: Supercut of standoffs involve lots of guns, terse words, false bravado

The term “Mexican standoff” seems loaded with ethnic issues, and its origins in the 19th century certainly don’t help make it any less possibly problematic (although, curiously, one source claims that it is Australian in origin). However issue-laden the term may be, it has long been a staple in films that need to ratchet up the tension, with guns (or other implements of death) pointed in all directions and an uncertain outcome hanging in the distance. The standoff has been used in all manner of genres, including action films (of course), westerns, comedies, and has crossed regional borders by directors of all nationalities. It’s a great way to add tension to a film and place characters in untenable situations; it’s like Chekhov’s gun but in its ultimate x-treme form. Need to add a bit of hopelessness while ratcheting up the seriousness of a moment? Throw in …

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