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Guns of Equilibrium:

"Equilibrium" is one of the most interesting movies out there. The reasons for this are three fold.  The power of the script, the depth of the acting and the brilliance of the directing.  The poet William Yeats said that the most important thing about a play (in his day movies were silent) was the strength of the dialog’s voice.  I find it especially fitting that this film both quotes him and heeds his advice in maximizing the “voice”.

As the movie opens, it explains clearly the film’s premise and who a Grammaton Cleric is, and what he does.  In this opening sequence, we see a Cleric exercising. He holds two weapons… These are Beretta 92 series automatic handguns that have been highly modified for this movie.  Through the movie we see that these guns have a lot of capability and these clerics make good use of them.  (NOTE: DO NOT EMAIL ABOUT GETTING A BERETTA MODIFIED LIKE THIS. It's too bloody expensive to even consider... If you are the type of guy that can afford a new Aston Martin every month, then it's possible.  Unless you are that guy, I'm not telling. To prove you can, give me a new Aston Martin and I'll tell you.  Any Aston, any color will do.  Thanks - Ogre)

First off, lets look at the most obvious modifications. These guns are given longer barrels, full length dust covers, and barrel weights affixed and molded to the frames.  Very nicely done.  This will give the gun better control during firing and increased velocity for a good deal more ballistic energy.  Something 9mm takes good advantage of.  These mods not only make the guns look good, but would be a worthy and practical mod for IPSC, Bulls eye, or Bowling pin competitions. The longer sight radius is another huge advantage.  This would allow a shooter to make more accurate shots at longer ranges.

The gun is also compensated (If you watch carefully, you can see the muzzle flash in the impossible shape of the Grammaton logo.  Cool… but impossible to really do) to give even more control during sustained fire. Indeed, it can fire Full Auto thanks to a an internal modification to the sear, and is supposed to be a select fire weapon with the options of safe, semi, and full auto.  We see a close up of this select lever in one scene and we note that the lever is that from an AR-15 type rifle.  You see the Cleric select semi mode, then look around the room and he goes to full auto mode and we are holding our breath waiting for him to just go critical mass… but he doesn’t… yet…  For extra dramatic effect, these Beretta 92s are also modified to eject vertically, but this offers no advantage.   The DVD explains this in the Director’s Commentaries how they chose the 92 just because it could be modified to eject up – and this was specifically for one scene… when he shoots his partner through the book.  Cool visual, and a potent story point.  I think they did a good job here.

By pressing a button, the magazines extend four blunted spikes so the gun can be used as a small war hammer. Clever concept, but I don’t see why the spikes would be any help. Another type of magazine is used that is extended with a rounded base plate. These are shown to allow the mag to stand up, when dropped, thrown or skidded across the room. (Nice trick, but I’m not going to be tossing my next reloads across the room. Ever.)

Several movies have shown trick ways of reloading an empty pistol, but this movie raises that bar -from weeble-wobble magazines to robots up the sleeves. It’s all good, I’ve not seen these tricks before.

There are a couple other small detail alterations to the Beretta.  Take a look at the trigger guard and you will see that it has been reshaped to go with the overall Grammaton look. I think there are 3 or 4 different sets or pairs of guns.  A set that is full auto, a set with the spring loaded spikes in the handles, and maybe a couple that are top ejecting.  I can not confirm this.  I think at least one of the single shots has a been worked over by a certain custom gunsmith, as the scene when Preston shoots his partner, it looks like he has an LTT hammer on this gun.

Over all, as Sci-Fi Handguns go, I place the Grammaton Pistol as #2.  It is second only to the handgun used by Dekard in the movie “Blade Runner.” #3, in case your wondering would perhaps be Han Solo’s Blaster, but that is another story.

For Sci-Fi handguns that I would actually want to own - The Grammaton Beretta is #1.   If I could, I'd send my Beretta 92FS in for the Grammaton Conversion.  Being a poor college student again, even if I knew who did the conversion, I doubt I could afford it... And I'm talking about just the barrel and dustcover conversion and not the internals.

The movie progresses to a very stern looking fellow holding a painting of a little girl. He is the leader of a resistance cell. Who this cat is, I don’t know, but he looks like an old friend of mine named Robert, so I”ll call this cat “Robert”. The police pull up and Robert says, “You know what to do!”  Then he whips out a Remington 870 Express with a Pachmayr Vindicator grip and an Aimpoint optical gunsight of some sort. I can understand the full length barrel and the grip, but a red dot on a shotgun with no stock just baffles me. With no shoulder stock, you are not going to be firing slugs. If you are not firing slugs, you really don’t need an optical gunsight. But it does look good. Especially at the camera angles it’s shown in.  Robert’s crew is well armed, but not well trained. “What to do” must be to sacrifice themselves in both valiant and futile ways.   I’m seeing a mixed bag of arms here AK-47 variants, shotguns, an uzi or two… and a Czech scorpion. Let’s talk about these guns for a second. The AK47 and subsequent variants (AKM, AK-74, etc.) represent the most common weapon system on this planet as far as military rifles are concerned. Following the AK series is the M-16. I’ll trade the robust action and solid reliability over small increase in accuracy and ergonomics, because in a fight, I don’t care if the weapon is comfortable and I’m not going to be printing shot groups on paper… the clear winner in reliability is the AK.  This is unquestionable - even by the dim witted.  The Uzi is the classic submachinegun.  Nice choice to use it.  Even by the future resistance and underground network, getting working Uzis and AKs wouldn't be a problem.  The Skorpion is a different case... it's a very small and compact machine pistol.  Not very accurate or powerful.  But man, are they cool.  They have got to be one of the most "fun" guns you could ever hope to pull the trigger on.

The police are all armed with HK G36 rifles. The G36 is the new main battle rifle of the German Army and has a lot of advanced features that make it particularly deadly and extremely effective. Most notably is the weapon’s built in optical gunsights.  “Sights” as in “two of them”. The sights are fast and easy to use, but rather small for western tastes. Another advantage is the topside charging handle that can be used right or left handed. The receiver is polymer so the gun system is much lighter, yet just as strong as an all steel gun, such as it replaced. I am not sure, but I think Equilibrium just might have been the very first movie to use the G36. I’d have to check production dates to verify this.

(UPDATE:  I checked the dates and found that the first movie to feature the G36 rifle was JAMES BOND: THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH.  In that movie the G36 is mounted to a post on the back of a boat in the opening action scene after the bomb blast at MI-6 HQ)

The main reason that the G36 is superior to the AR-16/M-16 system is that the G36 uses an operating rod to cycle the action and not direct gas impingement.  It’s not a perfect design, but it is very good.  Considering the rapid proliferation of these rifles in military service, it’s not surprising that in the future they would trickle down in to the hands of the police.  This happened to the M-16, and is the main reason you see so many of them in any police armory.

Later in this movie, we see these shotguns from this opening battle used in the sequence when the picture’s hero turns and engages the police for the first time… Protecting a puppy that he gives to his little girl… so cute.  Speaking of that puppy, when Preston gets that puppy, one of the police is shooting a bunch of dogs and this one escapes. That police officer is using a very interesting shotgun. Very interesting indeed. It’s really not a shot gun at all. It’s a Walther 2000 sniper rifle chambered in .300 Win mag.   I can’t understand why they would have selected this bullpupped sniper rifle to be used as a shotgun, other than it’s just a really good looking weapon and they had no other use for it.  But it worked out… lots of normally smart Shooters have asked me “Hey, what was that cool shotgun?”  Now you know, and as GI Joe says, “Knowing is half the battle.”  This rifle was also used in a James Bond movie… I think it’s “Living Daylights” but I am not sure.  It's one of the Timothy Dalton Bond flicks and not worth anything other than the very pretty blond Bond Babe in that one.

Equilibrium is also perhaps the only movie that I know of that uses the Beretta AR70 Rifle.  The AR70 is a .223 caliber select fire rifle that is becoming a rare oddity today.  The AR70’s are the futuristic black scary looking rifles used by all the coppers wearing motorcycle helmets.  While a cool rifle, and pretty much excellent in all respects… it is almost forgotten.  It’s trumped by the popularity of other rifles, and since you don’t see them very often, it’s never really talked about.  I have only seen and fired one of them, and that was at Ft. Benning.  But even way back then when I was still brainwashed into thinking that the M-16 was the font of all that was deadly – I was extremely impressed with this Beretta rifle.    Thanks to the AWB, you will probably never see one.  I know a couple people that have them and once in awhile you will see one for sale on a gun auction board… but your not going to be seeing one on the rifle rack at your local stop and shop.    Seeing these used in this flick was very cool.  These guns have a distinct “look” to them that adds to the visual power on screen… it’s not something you have seen a million times before and they don’t need any dress-up crap to make it look different.  Great selection here.

I almost forgot.  Another weapon that we see in a couple scenes is the relatively new FN P90.  The P90 is an interesting weapon that is loaded with a very funky 50 round magazine that lays along the top of the barrel and action.  It uses a weird turn-table system to rotate the rounds in the mag into like with the weapons action.  It's very compact for this reason and I like that.  However I am not comfortable with this system myself and would personally not select it for myself.  It is reported that a dropped magazine can "Unzip".  That means all 50 rounds can eject in rapid succession.  This would be a very bad thing.  The distinct feature of the P90 that makes it very recognizable is the weird curving grips.  No other weapon has grips like these and for that I am grateful, because it's ugly as sin.  The P90 is chambered for a new cartridge that is short enough for a pistol action, yet hits with power to enough to penetrate body armor.  It's best kept within pistol engagement ranges but it does have good long range accuracy for an SMG.  This isn't the first time we have seen a P90 in a movie... the first was in the comic book turned movie "Spawn".  That movie uses a couple Ingram SMGs that are dressed up to look like a P90.

I am extremely impressed with this movie.  Not just for the above reasons… but also because they accomplished this with such a small budget.  This whole movie cost less than just “The Freeway Scene” in Matrix Reloaded.  With a small budget they still maximized the tools and the talent and created a movie that I consider to be one of the best ever.

The pure genius of Kurt Wimmer is apparent in the subtlety that screams out in this film.  If you watch it half-assed, you miss so much depth and power that it's shocking.  Equilibrium is REQUIRED VIEWING.  

A couple other Kurt Wimmer films that I enjoy is The Recruit and The Thomas Crown Affair.   He is a great director.  I am looking forward to Ultraviolet, his next action flick.

As cool as the guns and stuff is... the sword action is even better.   Best sword duel you will ever see is near the end.  It's also perhaps one of the shortest you will ever see.  Brilliantly done.  We are expecting a nice long Rob Roy fight and Preston just... well... You have to see it for yourself.

If you have not seen Equilibrium you are to do as soon as possible.

For more information about Equilibrium, please check out the Equilibrium Fan SiteTons of information there that goes beyond the hardware. 

Inquiries regarding actual live firearm conversion to EQ Style... This would require a total forging of a new frame.  Such a conversion would be extremely expensive... so much so that it would be more of a fantasy that the movie's basis.  It isn't going to happen.  For the cost, you could probably purchase a couple original Ford GT40s and have enough left over for a Bently.  Further discussion regarding this arm.

BTW, The poem that plays such a part of the movie by William Yeats:

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

NOTE: DO NOT EMAIL ABOUT GETTING A BERETTA MODIFIED LIKE THIS. It's too bloody expensive to even consider... If you are the type of guy that can afford a new Aston Martin every month, then it's possible.  Unless you are that guy, I'm not telling. To prove you can, give me a new Aston Martin and I'll tell you.  Any Aston, any color will do.  Thanks - Ogre



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