Monday, 1 September 2008

Mexican Standoff

In popular culture, the Mexican standoff is often portrayed as multiple opponents with weapons aimed at each other, such that each opponent feels equally threatened and does not believe they can strike first without endangering their own life; not only does any initial shot decisively destroy the unstable equilibrium of multiple deterrence, shooting any one person takes one's aim away from the other opponent.

Examples of this situation occur in the movies The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Natural Born Killers, Shanghai Noon, Pulp Fiction, Face/Off, Enemy of the State, True Romance, Matrix Revolutions, Hitman, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and Reservoir Dogs.

An analogous highly unstable situation can also occur when a weapon is within reach, as in the climax of Dead Again. The Mexican standoff is now largely considered a movie cliché due to its frequent use in spaghetti westerns and action films.


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