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Wow. Shoot 'Em Up is exactly what it claims to be. An action movie.
Balls to the wall, no holds barred, but nothing more. And that's
exactly what you get. Don't go expecting high art...SEU doesn't take
itself seriously enough for that. But that's exactly what makes it
work. It KNOWS it's over the top, and doesn't try to hide it. Clive
Owen's Smith character is the Bugs Bunny to Paul Giamatti's Hurtz Elmer
Fudd. The film takes the best cartoon elements, makes them flesh, and
still kicks in that over the top craziness. Bad puns that are so bad
they're good, action sequences that there just for the sake of having
an action sequence, and the wildest sex scene ever...it's amazing. It's
the funniest, coolest, most amazing mix of stunts, bad one liners and
paper think plot lines.
You get everything you expect from Shoot 'Em Up...and it's all great.
I rated this movie a 10 in the context of other action movies; it's
nowhere near a 10 when compared to classics like Casablanca, but in
it's genre, it accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do.
Clive Owen stars as "Smith" a guy with a past (that's slowly revealed during the crazy gun fights) who shows up as a knight in shining armor to a lady who is about to pop a baby and is being chased by baddies, headed up by Paul Giamatti. After he rescues the kid, he links back up with an old flame, DQ, played by Monica Bellucci. The movie starts out with a bang, quite literally and doesn't settle down the entire time. There's a plot somewhere in the movie, but if you think too hard, it'll disappear in a puff of logic.
That being said, the gunfights and car chases are stellar. They are lots of fun, with ridiculous things going on the entire time. Just suspend your reason & logic, strap into your theater seat and enjoy the ride.
Michael Davis spoke before the preview and said he was an action movie buff since the beginning and made the movie he wanted to make. As an action movie fan, I thank him!
Think about the title of the movie, because if you don't like that than just stay home. This movie lives up to its name in a fresh, fun and humorous way. Clive Owen is great as Mr. Smith, the coolest action hero I have seen in a long time. Paul Giammatti is witty and surprisingly enjoyable to watch as the bad guy. If you take this film too serious than you will not like it. Yes, it is a ridiculous film filled with non-stop action that would never be humanly possible, babies being thrown around but yet staying protected by the humorous Mr. Smith. This film was so fun and yes over the top, but if you expect anything more you probably will be disappointed. The violence was very extravagant, but what else did you expect from this title? It is the sort of violence that doesn't really bother you in a film. It's flashy and well, it's entertainment. Just like this movie, it was entertaining and I loved it.
I wasn't really sure what to make of this movie before I went to the
advanced screening. I heard from a friend of mine at the Chicago
Tribune (she's female, and you'll see why that matters in a second) and
she said, "It was so stupid! It was like, BANG BANG BANG, EXPLETIVE
EXPLETIVE EXPLETIVE, BANG BANG BANG! Then gallons of blood and we move
on." For some reason, the little boy in me that loved the scene in
Predator where all of the soldiers shoot at open woods for a complete
minute, got very excited. She wasn't kidding, either, that's just what
this movie was. Don't worry about the plot, it's not really a concern.
Don't worry about the script either, the lines are so over the top and
shallow that you know a man wrote this script without allowing anyone
to comment on it.
At the same time, this movie is just plain fun. You will find yourself laughing from the moment the movie starts to the ending (which you won't be glancing at your watch while waiting for). There are funny lines, funny situations, and stuff that is so impossible in the real world that you can't help but chuckle. Various moments during the film, I found myself applauding along with the audience, maybe not for the film, but for how writer/director Michael Davis got our hero out of another situation.
The directing, as opposed to the writing, was done very well, especially for a movie like this. If you take the directing too seriously, the script won't work, which is probably why Michael Davis did both. Clive Owen delivers another strong performance, adapting to the cheesy script and outrageous events like a participant in a prank or gag. Monica Bellucci plays the most serious role in the film, and still takes to mocking her life and situation in this movie like the rest of them. My favorite character would still have to be the sly Paul Giamatti, who is given some pretty crazy situations himself but they are coupled with the only lines of any intelligence (or longer than about four words).
By the end of this movie, I was having a lot of fun watching a plot unfold that I didn't really care about. That doesn't deter the film, though, because it's kind of like a stunt show, you're not really concerned with the story. I loved it and, apparently, so did most of the audience. It really reminded me of seeing, well, a live action movie that was more like a video game (we even have coordinated colors for the costumes of the "bad guys" in the various "levels"). I'd like to use this film as an example to my (former) favorite critic Roger Ebert as a perfect example of how video games can be construed in the same light as video games, because Roger, this is clearly a movie made by a large video game fan.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In this deliriously over-the-top masterpiece of outrageously clever
mayhem, star Clive Owen is an unstoppable good-guy gunman who is given
to asking the question "you know what I hate?" immediately before
letting all hell break loose.
You know what I hate? Dishonest, hypocritical reviewers like the one sitting two seats away from me at the "Shoot 'Em Up" screening I attended. Although he made amused grunts and other appreciative noises during the deliciously inventive stunts, laughed out loud at the jokes, gasped and groaned at all the right gasp-and-groan-worthy places, and generally appeared to be having a grand old time, he said afterward that he didn't like the movie.
What the hell is wrong with critics like that? Are they afraid the art-house crowd won't take them seriously if they express appreciation for a film in which a newborn's umbilical cord is cut with a gunshot, or a thug gets killed by having a carrot shoved in his mouth and out the back of his head? What, you mean Bergman or Antonioni never filmed a lactating hooker tearing out a ring from a Marilyn Manson lookalike's "personal area" to convince him to talk?
Although the posters for "Shoot 'Em Up" resemble Frank Miller comic-book drawings come to life, the actual movie has more in common with the work of another comic-book great: Garth Ennis, writer of such jaw-droppingly hyper-violent heroes as Marvel's the Punisher. (Although the awful 2004 "Punisher" movie included some supporting characters and plot points that originated with Ennis, it lacked anything resembling his very dark yet fiercely entertaining style. The guy definitely has a way of making vigilantes and their dangerous toys fascinating.)
Owen plays Mr. Smith -- and that's probably not his real name -- a guy who is simply waiting for a bus when he gets drawn into one of the wildest, most crazy-violent action opening scenes of all time. By the time the bullets stop flying, Smith is on the run with a complete stranger's targeted-for-death baby and one hell of a lot of questions.
Smith enlists a kinky "got milk" hooker (Monica Bellucci) to wet-nurse the infant. Despite some tough talk, she turns out to be more placidly sensual and maternal than kick-ass tomboy, which makes for a nice change in this kind of movie.
Meanwhile, a sadistically evil genius appropriately named Hertz (Paul Giamatti) dogs their trail with a never-ending army of hired killers and, yes, a couple of dogs. Giamatti scores as this badass with brains, who is shocked and hilariously furious about how Smith & Company keep managing to survive. "Do we suck this bad," he says at one point, "or is this guy really that good?"
Writer/director Michael Davis has loaded the film with one unforgettably imaginative image after another: spent shell casings bouncing off a pregnant woman's stomach, a gun dropping in an unflushed toilet, a hand with bullets between the fingers shoved into a fireplace as an improvised weapon. There are showdowns, standoffs, car chases, airborne gun battles and even a shootout in a firearms factory.
Best of all, the screenplay manages to both glorify in and yet subvert some of the things you'll be expecting. For example, it's a mega-body-count, blizzard-of-bullets barrage that's actually a plea for gun control at heart. Seriously. Also, although it has scenes referencing bits from movies as diverse as "Lost Highway," "The Transporter" and even "Raising Arizona" (how's that for range?), it still feels fresh and original.
And there's one perfectly done little scene that's so poignant you may actually find yourself tearing up. Don't worry, though -- a hail of gunfire follows very shortly thereafter. Heck, a hail of gunfire follows shortly after EVERYTHING in this movie, usually including other hails of gunfire!
I can't wait to see what relative newcomer Michael Davis does for his next movie, but it will be hard for him to top this one. "Shoot 'Em Up" is a flat-out joy to watch. When it was over, the first thing I said was, "I want to see this movie again RIGHT NOW!" It's that good!
People who rate this movie poorly obviously do not realize that it is a comedy. If you go into it hoping for awesome action and realistic events, prepare to be disappointed. The entire movie is just completely ridiculous action sequences that not only would never happen but never COULD happen in any possible way. It's as if someone took every action scene that got cut from other action movies for being too outrageous or physically impossible and jammed them all into one movie. That is what makes it so funny! There were scenes with no dialogue that had me rolling with laughter. There aren't any dull moments either with someone getting shot pretty much every 10 seconds. The movie was not what I was expecting, but ended up SO much better. It's just plain fun!
As I stated above, this movie is a fun ride. The script was probably written by a 13 year old kid who plays a lot of video games, but that's why it's great. You can just kick back, turn your brain off for 80 minutes, and enjoy. It is the ultimate guy movie. And for the one liners: as cheesy and lame as you could ask for. Shoot Em Up was made to entertain the 20 something action junkie, so if you aren't one, you will no doubt hate this flick. But for the rest of us, who all have that 13 year old immature video gamer still inside, you gotta see it. I think Clive Owen might be the first true action star Hollywood has had in a long time. One other enjoyable feature: great soundtrack. Shootout scene with Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" in the background: you can't ask for anything better. I give Shoot Em Up 8 out of 10.
I had been looking forward to this movie for months, so walking in, I
had somewhat high expectations. Walking out, I felt very satisfied and
that I had gotten more than my money's worth.
You are going to be hard-pressed to find a movie more over the top than Shoot 'Em Up. What Michael Davis does here is take every action movie cliché (i.e. firing two guns while jumping through the air, shooting guns out of speeding cars, etc.) and takes it to a whole new level entirely. It works namely because the violence here is just so creative. Sure, it defies all logic most of the time, but I was laughing and having a rip-roaring time throughout.
Clive Owen is perfectly cast as the carrot-chomping, gun-toting smart aleck hero and has no shortage of cheesy puns (that score big laughs). The rest of the cast does well, but really, it's Clive's show.
The "plot" is pretty much non-existent other than about a half dozen scenes of slightly forced dialogue. The purpose behind these scenes is more to give the audience a couple of minutes to catch it's collective breath between action scenes than it is to develop an actual story. And really, if you went to this movie expecting an in-depth character drama, you picked the wrong film.
At a little under an hour and a half, Shoot 'Em Up successfully delivers a perfect dosage of action, guns and puns without overstaying it's welcome. I'll be sure to see it at least a couple more times while it is still in theaters.
Plus, it has Mötley Crüe's, "Kickstart my Heart". What more could you ask for?
Some of the comments left by people on here show just how clueless
movie goers can be. As if you can't tell that there's a slight
tongue-in-cheek feel to the movie. Doesn't the stupidly high kill count
or OTT methods used to kill people make that obvious to you? Does a
movie with the title "Shoot em up" sound like a serious piece of work?
Come on some of you just need to relax and use your brains a little.
I haven't much to say on the movie itself since its ones of those "entertained me but probably won't buy the DVD" films I so often see in cinemas. Acting was good, action was good, plot was OK. Go see it. If you love it - great, if you don't - oh well. It really is one of those kind of movies. Just remember not expect a serious film reminiscent of James Bond or Die Hard, OK?.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SHOOT 'EM UP is well named: this is a whompingly good action movie that
is as much parody of its genre as it is a good story. It never for a
moment takes itself seriously and it is played by a strong cast of
top-drawer actors having a terrific time. Writer/director Michael Davis
has found his niche and let's hope their will be more dark comedies
that are as much fun to watch as this one.
The story is negligible: lone man Smith (Clive Owen at his best) observes a pregnant woman in chased distress, delivers her baby, then finishes off the huge gang of bad guys who are in pursuit, taking the newborn boy to transient safety. Smith finds a lactating prostitute Donna (beautiful Monica Bellucci), takes her from her business of kinky sex and makes her the baby's surrogate mother. A smarmy gangster Hertz (Paul Giamatti in another career forming role), connected to an illicit arms manufacturer Hammerson (Stephen McHattie), is in pursuit of both Smith and the baby for reasons that are finally disclosed: the baby is part of a ring of potential bone marrow donors for an important Senator. The ending is, well, an ending. But it is the getting there that is all the fun.
The dialog is peppered with hilarious one-liners that have a real edge and the methods of the endless killings include several using the carrot that Smith keeps at hand as a weapon. The shootings are fast and impossible but actually hilarious in the choreography. Clive Owen plays the role straight, with a real gift for humor as well as action. Paul Giamatti is a sinister delight and able to match Owens one-liner for one-liner. Monica Bellucci makes her impossible role credible and as always is gorgeous to look at! This is a fast paced, finely written and acted parody - definitely deserving of the comic book title! Grady Harp
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