You get everything you expect from Shoot 'Em Up...and it's all great.
Shoot 'Em Up (2007)
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You get everything you expect from Shoot 'Em Up...and it's all great.
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!
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!
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.
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?
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?.
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
I am a huge fan of Paul Giamatti & Clive Owen, their combined body of work is impressive to say the least, with works such as Sideways, The Illusionist and American Splendour (Giamatti) with Croupier, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead and Children of Men (Owen) to their name, this is a pedigree of some standard and to bring them together on a project has gave this film some much needed gravitas that has allowed it to have a cinema release, because believe me if this film didn't have these actors in it, it would have never seen the light of day.
I am not adverse to films of a mindless nature, believe me I have sat through films such as Deep Blue Sea and Transformers and been thoroughly entertained, they are what they are, however when you have a mindless action film that have bad set pieces terrible dialogue, even worse scripting and woeful special effects all you are left with is Shoot 'em Up.
From babies being delivered in the middle of gunfights, people having sex in the middle of gunfights, people parachuting in the middle of gunfights, gunfights in the middle of gunfights, this film is loud, clichéd, stupid and just basically a mess.
The dialogue sounds like it has been written by a 1st year film student who has been watching Lock, Stock and two Smoking Barrels on a continuous loop. The action sequences are terribly handled, feeling unrealistic, stilted and just plain rubbish. The special effects make this already bad film just feel even worse, I am aware what this film is trying to do with its tongue in cheek take on the action flick, however not to throw any money into the budget of this film (£23,000,000) has meant it doesn't even have its special effects to rely on, they make it look cheap and quite unremarkable.
Ultimately what is unfortunate about this film is that it has been able to attract two of Hollywood's brightest talents and shoe-horn them into one of the biggest piles of sh*t I have ever seen. I am sure that their careers will not suffer too much, however I feel that the paying audience have suffered enough. You watch this film at your own peril...don't say I didn't warn you.
This wild, anything goes approach could be compared to the previous year's Crank, but unlike that film, which was crippled by unlikeable characters, unnecessary vulgarity and a glut of irritatingly showy editing tricks, Shoot 'Em' up remains a classy and often clever piece of film-making despite its highly preposterous plot: Davis's effective direction is cool and slick without resorting to migraine inducing visual gimmickry; stars Owen and Bellucci effortlessly ooze sex appeal and charisma, whilst Paul Giamatti, as ultra-vicious killer Hertz, is utterly loathsome; there are some inspired visual gags for the eagle-eyed; and the never-ending gun-play is both brilliantly inventive and absolutely blistering. Hell, the film even manages to deliver an ironic anti-gun message whilst all the bullets are flying and people are dying.
In short this film is everything Crank would dearly have loved to have been, and then some.
7.5 out of 10, rounded up to 8 for IMDb.
This is more of a kid's movie than any of the so-called kid's movies I saw this year. Stardust was an adult oriented fantasy. Ratatouille had distinctly adult oriented humour that no doubt went over most kid's heads. Yet a film that is supposed to be adult, Die Hard 4.0, was aimed directly at the kids. And now this, the kind of movie I would have lapped up at 15 or so. It has everything I would have wanted back then: Gunfire, swearing, boobies, bad puns, lots of blood, increasingly gory deaths. Oh, and er, lactating hookers. This is a film that is decadent and racy for the sake of it, possibly to have it's pre-pubescent audience snigger at the use of a rude word. There are those who would frivolously use the word 'satire' to describe this film. Shoot 'Em Up does not even come close to being that deep. In the end, it just becomes a pale imitation of the folly it pokes fun at.
The plot is non-existent. I expected this much, only I half expected for there to be at least a thread to hold it all together. I was wrong. Instead, it has different variations on that cinematic darling, the gunfight. We have gunfight while eating carrot, death by carrot, firing a gun with a carrot, gunfight during sex, gunfight while birthing, gunfight while parachuting and gunfight with no workable fingers with which to fire (that's where the carrot comes in again). Imagine if you will, an E! Entertainment special, Top 1001 movie gunfights and you have Shoot 'Em Up. It's trying to be desperately clever and winds up being desperately generic. Some are even pretty well constructed, but others, the majority, instantly forgettable.
There's no character development to speak of, which again, I expected, but these people are literally made of cardboard. How can an audience be expected to be thrilled by a gunfight if they don't care about anyone in it? Furthermore, the script is so full of cringe-worthy lines, it's hard to see why writer Michael Davis may have thought he was being clever when writing them. Clive Owen's mythical charisma is lost on me. I see him at his best in small films such as Croupier or Children of Men in which he actually plays a character, but so far his blockbuster roles have been disappointing. His King Arthur was about as stale as they come and his deadpanning in this role feels forced and unenthusiastic. Paul Giamatti looks like he's having fun chewing the scenery, but chew the scenery is all he does and try as he might to be menacing, he falls short of creating any kind of tension.
Director Michael Davis brought us some teen comedies early in the decade such as 100 Girls and Girl Fever, neither of which impressed me due to their complete immaturity and their utter tastelessness, compared even to the likes of Tomcats. Shoot 'Em Up has done nothing to change my mind about his work. Thanks to Girl Fever, I'll never be able to think about Clint Howard the same way again.
So, to sum up, a gormless mess of action sequences, starring the 'almost James Bond' with less plot than a Michael Bay extravaganza and a large abundance of carrots. Movies need a certain amount of substance to survive. This had none. A waste of time and money.
No matter where you hide, he will find you. No matter what weapons you have, he will outsmart you. No matter how many trained gunmen you hire, he will kill them all. And he doesn't even need a gun. A simple carrot will do. Because he is a British nanny. And he is dangerous.
If want to twist and turn all the laws of physics, I am OK with it. If you can survive 100000 bullets shot at you from random direction, I am OK with it. If you can pull out miracles when all hopes of sanity are lost, still I am OK with it. Just don't cut the umbilical cord of a new born baby with a gun shot. The baby might die.
Most memorable scene: When our hero kills the ruffians while continuing humping (I thought of using 'making love' or 'having sex', but found them too degrading for the scene) his girlfriend. (Statutory Warning: This scene might put you into delirium. Parental Guidance required.)
(Originally published @ weirdo-on-movies.blogspot.com)
The action was so redundant I was bored out of my mind. The dialogue was god awful and corny. It also failed as a comedy because I think there was only one (maybe two) parts where I laughed.
I wasn't expecting a ton of plot or characterization going in but I was expecting an entertaining movie which this failed terribly at being. By all rights it feels like it was written by a high school student.
So many plot holes are present and the director expects the audience to have way too many suspensions of disbelief. I understand something being over the top but when a filmmaker chooses to completely disregard reality, common sense, and psychics it's not only lazy but insulting.
I was expecting something clever but instead got something dumb and trite. Rather than being a parody of the action genre it merely managed to sink lower than the worst case scenarios of bad movie making and become a prime example of a genre at its absolute worst. I'm honestly amazed at the amount of positive feedback this movie is receiving.
And worst of all was the hypocrisy. It has been stated in other comments, but it needs to be stated again - this "film" is a commercial enterprise selling you on the hopes of seeing dozens of people shot. They are making money off of a portrayal of people killing each other with guns. And then they have the audacity to make the theme of their idiotic movie about gun control! Are you kidding me?
The only industry that makes more money off of guns than gun manufacturers is liberal Hollywood. Someone has to call them on this garbage! And no, I didn't give the film one star simply because of its mind-blowing hypocrisy. Its legitimately that terrible. No one involved with this piece of junk should ever work again.
I know that they couldn't use a real baby during the scenes when Ownen's character runs across the roof or at the playground, but come on, the log on Twin Peaks was more convincing.
I also wondered how Paul Giamatti's character could control so many bad buys. His character seems uncomfortable using a gun. Not a real leader, regardless of how much money he had to pay to toughs.
Don't get me wrong, I like off-beat movies. I liked Pulp Fiction. I sometimes like mindless entertainment, but I think the two main lead's talents were wasted in this movie.
I walked out after the first half hour. Ice cream & a motorcycle ride were much better than this drivel.