For a gun-rights advocacy documentary that opens with a fluttering American flag and a twangy country vocalist singing "got a gun to keep us strong / that's what our country was founded on" (the next verse violates the Old Testament's Fourth Commandment ... but not the 2nd Amendment), "Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire" is a reasoned counter to Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" and, as such, a constructive addition to the current national firearms debate.
The almost-complete absence of dissenting voices will likely limit its audience to gun-toting members of the choir, though anyone with an interest in the subject would be well-served by hearing its arguments.
Director Kris Koenig's inspired choice of rap star Ice-T as narrator signals the film's relative finesse in addressing gun owner stereotypes as a way of arguing against most — but not all — firearm restrictions. We hear from gun owners of all stripes — women, minorities, old-timers, paraplegics, even an LGBT gun group called the Pink Pistols — making the movie's fundamental assertion that self-protection is a right and, in times when the "thin veneer of civilization" breaks down, a necessity, a defense for the defenseless.
There's much talk about constitutional rights, no mention of high-capacity magazines or the effectiveness of gun laws in other nations. For the filmmakers, it's all about the 2nd Amendment, which, to their thinking, demands a responsibility for one's own well-being, the "most sacred civil right."
'Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire'
MPAA rating: PG-13 for violent disturbing images and brief strong language
Running time: 1 hour, 19 minutes
Playing: At AMC Burbank Town Center