when the dust clears

Words about and images of matters political, social, and military

Product placement of rodneys?

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Detail from a movie ad, 14th Street F train station, downtown platform:

The engraving on Kate Beckinsale’s weapon has most likely been altered to remove the name of the manufacturer, Beretta, and to scramble other information. However, the film’s PR people included the model number, 92FS, so you can Google your way to a new 9mm just like Beckinsale’s avenging Underworld character Selene totes (extra-large clip available elsewhere). So helpful!

Beckinsale’s Beretta FS is apparently a modification of the off-the-shelf model, which might explain why the posterized version isn’t an exact match of the website models.

The Italian version

Beretta 92FS Type M9A1, available in the U.S.

Selene packed a Beretta “fitted with compensators and modified to fire full auto” in the first Underworld, according to imfdb.org, a site that lovingly catalogs firearms featured in movies.

What grabbed my attention was, of course, the size of Beckinsale’s piece — my grandfather, an NYPD officer from 1936 to 1956, would have called it a “rod” or “rodney” — as it’s rendered in the ad. I just finished reading an advanced copy of Glock: The Rise of The American Gun by Paul M. Barrett, a Businessweek editor. It’s an engaging and shocking account — absolutely no hyperbole here — of the infiltration of this Austrian pistol into U.S. gun culture and its eventual domination of the market. “Approximately 65% of police departments in America already put a GLOCK in between them and the problem,” says the arms maker’s U.S. website.

(FYI: Paul Barrett will be speaking at Brooklyn’s Book Court on January 10.)

Glock also conquered Hollywood. Detective Sonny Crockett, the pastel-outfitted TV cop played by Don Johnson in Miami Vice, was the first American character to carry one on screen, says imfdb. That series ended in 1990. More recently, 50 Cent rocked a Glock in the film Twelve. Mr. Cent’s particular model: the Glock 17.

My F train encounter with Selene’s elephantine rodney was simply the most recent catalyst to ignite my interest in movie guns. While reporting for a Fortune magazine story on product placement in 1998, I tried to get gun company PR flacks to cop to paying movie studios for placement of their firearms in films, because it seemed to me that certain guns kept popping up on the silver screen. (As fate would have it, the movie gun that grabbed my attention back then was a Beretta 92FS sported by Chow Yun Fat in The Replacement Killers. I didn’t remember this until today.)

Back then I wrote:

For instance, Smith & Wesson used a product-placement firm, International Promotions, to put its wares in the hands of stars. The company scored with the TV show Brooklyn South and the film For Richer or Poorer, but fearing bad press, S&W severed the relationship, says Ken Jorgensen, the gunmaker’s public relations manager. “It was just pretty much a consensus that it wasn’t something we wanted to do,” he says, “and when it expired, it was gone.”

I wonder if product placement of guns is back? Anyone?

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Written by bxpnyc

2012/01/05 at 11:55

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