At Dumpshock there is often a thread asking or compiling quintessential Shadowrun movies. The first post is always innocent enough, asking for ideas or to continue the list that first poster has just start. It’s then followed by several posts that amount to “see here” with a link to a previous thread. In the interests of staying away from that I’ll post my list here.
I don’t believe that there will ever be a movie that encompasses most or all of the elements that make up Shadowrun. However, there are a lot of movies I draw upon to provide inspiration and imagery for my games. So without further ado here are the movies that make me think of Shadowrun.
- Akira – Japanacorps, go-gangs, and supernatural powers. This was probably one of the influences during the early development of Shadowrun. Also, Go-Gangs were a real thing in Japan.
- Heat – The best of the best and how they destroy themselves when they deviate from their beliefs. Expect Prime runners to act the way De Niro’s crew did.
- Leon – The fixer/shooter relationship and good gun fights. There is a case to be made that Leon would also equate to a Physical Adept in Shadowrun. I like the part corruption plays in this movie and most of my Lone star detectives follow Gary Oldman’s shadow.
- Ronin – A movie about a group of prime runners planning for their next job. Heat shows you how prime runners act, Ronin shows you how they plan. Unfortunately, from my experience Way of the Gun has a more appropriate quote describing my player’s planning efforts; “a plan is just a list of things that don’t happen”.
- Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai – In my mind an accurate depiction of a street samurai and the code he holds himself to. If you’re going to walk around in my Shadowrun game calling yourself a sammy then you better act like Forest Whitaker’s character. Otherwise your just another shooter.
- District 9 – Watching this movie I immediately thought District 9 was fine example of the Redmond Barrens. The gang control, the ramshackle houses and the military force required to deliver relocation notices are all features of canon Shadowrun. I draw heavily from this movie when my players enter the barrens.
- Way of the Gun – My games are more Way of the Gun than Ronin or Heat. Your characters, like Mr Parker and Mr Longbaugh will walk outside society and must find a way to survive. Great, highly quotable movie. Most of my games are influenced by this one.
- Minority Report – Released before SR4 but a great example of AR technology and tailored advertising. Bonus points for the drones and street doc.
- Night Watch – I imagine in a world that has magic and metahumans, shadowrunners would act like the night watch. It wouldn’t be strange to talk to your vampire butcher to get information and have witches come to your house to cast spells. Creepy, understated magic is how I like magic to be portrayed in the RPGs I play.
Looking over the list it’s interesting to note that a lot of them feature a protagonist who ends up paying a terrible price (Heat, Leon, Ghost Dog, District 9, Way of the Gun). It’s a post for another time but my Shadowrun isn’t about destiny or heroics. It’s about surviving to see daybreak.