December 1, 2009

Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)

MUCH LIKE THE FILM ITSELF, I’m going to jump right into my review of Shoot ‘Em Up without any setup…

On a dark city street, a pregnant woman is chased by gunman, who both run by Mr. Smith (Clive Owen) as he sits on a bench, munching a carrot. Smith begrudgingly gets himself involved in the situation, killing the gunman – then he’s forced to deliver the woman’s baby while fending off a huge crew of armed thugs led by Mr. Hertz (Paul Giamatti). During the shootout, the mom is killed but Smith escapes with the baby. With the help of his hooker friend Donna (Monica Bellucci), Smith tries to figure out why the woman was wanted by the henchmen – and why they want the baby dead as well.


Like the videogame genre it’s named after, writer/director Michael DavisShoot ‘Em Up is a largely unrealistic yet awesomely trippy thrill-ride. All that’s missing is the first-person POV and the hand holding a gun in the lower corner.

The action sequences are almost too much to take in, but in a good way. (Kudos to the whiz-bang choreography of Peter Pau and editing by Peter Amundson.) You’ll laugh at the ridiculousness of each burst of action, but you’ll stay smiling afterwards because – admit it – it was also pretty awesome.

Shoot ‘Em Up does have its human moments. Smith’s traumatic backstory gives a rationale for his involvement, and the film will give any father a mix of emotions: The man inside you will eat up the action, yet your paternal instincts will feel for the baby (example: a tender scene where Smith takes off his sock to make a cap for the infant).

Other strong points: Giamatti is deliciously, charmingly scuzzy as head baddie Mr. Hertz (something tells me his first name is Dick). And the action scenes feature a high-speed soundtrack to match the mayhem, with songs by Nirvana, Motorhead, AC/DC, and Motley Crue.

In its easily digestible 86 minutes, Shoot ‘Em Up offers a dark, entertaining take on the classic Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd cartoons: riotous levels of chaos and mayhem, cheesy yet funny one-liners, and ingenious and outrageous ways out of no-escape scenarios. Make this a double-bill with 2008’s Rambo, and your craving for all-guns-blazing carnage will be satisfied for a long time to come.


Will your kids want to watch it?
With its video-game style, fast action, and massive amounts of gunplay, it’s easy to see why Shoot ‘Em Up would attract kids (read: boys) of any age. But while the film does take its violence to an almost cartoonish level, it shouldn’t be viewed by children below high-school age:
* Countless shooting deaths (we’re talking dozens), dismemberment, torture, and several lethal uses of a carrot
* A newborn baby is in peril numerous times
* Some sexual, S&M, and fetish goings-on at a brothel, plus an explicit love scene between Owen and Bellucci that gives new meaning to coitus interruptus

Will your FilmMother want to watch it?
If all the manly shooting and posturing in Shoot ‘Em Up isn’t enough to turn her off, see the aforementioned baby peril – the kid’s in danger of being shot, dropped, abandoned, or run over at different stages of the film. All signs point to you watching this alone or with buds.

Nobody puts my baby bottles in a corner...

Shoot ‘Em Up
* Director: Michael Davis
* Screenwriter: Michael Davis
* Stars: Clive Owen, Monica Bellucci, Paul Giamatti, Stephen McHattie, Greg Bryk, Daniel Pilon
* MPAA Rating: R (pervasive strong bloody violence, sexuality and some language)

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thistimeitwillbedifferent said...

I've got to say, I wasn't a massive fan of this. I can see what it was trying to do with its 'leave your brain at the door' 'no pretentions about being anything else' brand of action but that wasn't enough for me to really get into it. I can see why anyone would like it because of the above too things, I just wasn't sold.

Moviezzz said...

Glad you liked this.

It got mixed reviews, with some thinking it was nothing but a stupid action film, and others who saw it for the Looney Tunes influenced action parody it was. Clive Owen is always good.

I had fun with it too.

Bolton said...

I've wanted to see this. Mainly because prior to getting married, I was all about watching movies with guns ablaze.

I'll probably catch this on FX or SPIKE when it shows up.

Luke said...

haha, I love this movie. It's like a good version of Last Action Hero.

JLG said...

This movie is so great. I'm not always a big Clive Owen fan but he's perfect in this. He's like a hardcore James Bond.

Jeff Allard said...

I remember seeing the trailers for this and being really stoked to check it out and then I just kind of missed it. Glad you liked it - if I see it pop up on cable I'll give it a shot!

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

This is a great over the top, anything goes, batshit crazy movie masterpeiece that knows exactly who it wants to be and gets there. Everyone is immoral and deserves everything that they have coming to them. I never enjoy Clive Owen more than when he plays this kind of character. As a send up of the tough action star and his unstoppable nemesis, he and Paul play it straight up the middle with a knowing wink to the audience the whole time. This is a film that loves its intended audience and gives them all they could want and more. What a gem.

Keith said...

I must be one of the only people who hated this movie. Most people I know loved it. For some reason, I couldn't stand it. My brother can't understand why. lol

Watch Movies said...

I haven't watch this movie but after reading reviews of it , I am really excited about this movie. I wish i will watched it very soon.

Josh Lipovetsky said...

It's a fun movie, take it for what it is! Great review FilmFather, I enjoyed watching Shoot 'Em Up as well.

Josh Lipovetsky.

Cinema Du Meep said...

Crazy enough, my fiancee LOVES this movie. But then again, she loves the action pictures.

Great review. I think I need to watch it again now.

Watch shoot 'em up Movie said...

"Shoot Em' Up" does all that it can to be every kind of action-movie. And it succeeds; staging endless fight after fight in every way imaginable, never repeating itself and quite literally ending with a bang.

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