Action, Action Thriller
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The film opens with a man (Clive Owen) sitting on a bench eating a carrot. We don't know what he's up to, but he looks like a rough customer. We then see a pregnant woman (Ramona Pringle) limping down the street, bleeding and screaming, being pursued by a man with a gun. It's quite obvious she's about to die. So, without thinking, the man on the bench follows them, killing about thirty men and subsequently delivering the baby, being quite sure to shoot the umbilical cord with his pistol. The men he kills belong to a man named Hertz (Paul Giamatti), who is after the baby and wants to see it dead. The mystery man, appropriately named Mr. Smith, takes the baby with him and the rest of the film involves Giamatti & Co. trying to find Mr. Smith and the kid. This allows an assortment of set-ups, where Owen gets to kill upwards of 200 people throughout the course of the film and Giamatti gets to sweat and spit and shout out one liners like nobody's business. Then there's Monica Bellucci, who plays Donna, a hooker with a heart of gold, who comes along for the ride after her life is also placed in danger. That is the plotline for the film "Shoot'em Up".
This film defies description. It's one of the bloodiest, silliest, most ridiculous, most disgusting, raunchiest, retarded films I have ever seen - and it rocked my socks off. For God's sake - Clive Owen kills upwards of ten people with a carrot - yes, I repeat - a carrot. Paul Giamatti is as over the top as any actor could get, and he nails the role of the villain like a true professional. The film was written and directed by Michael Davis, whose previous films have been a little lackluster, his most popular probably being the film "Beanstalk" from the early-1990's. It's written and directed in a way that will cause most critics to probably give it 0/10 stars. However, the film fully understands how silly and ridiculous it is. It fully understands the genre that it is absolutely poking fun at, and it revels in the art of self-parody. Does anyone actually think a director would not see the sheer lunacy in a gun battle that takes place whilst falling through the skies? "Shoot'em Up" features several different battle scenarios where Owen's character gets to experiment shooting men in a number of different ways. It feels like a 'how to' for people who want to kill people. However, people could not normally be killed in these ways because, of course, the carrot would snap.
These days, it's just so difficult to produce an original and entertaining action film. Even Bruce Willis & Co. fumbled a bit with "Live Free or Die Hard" - it just didn't pack the same punch as the previous three films in the series because the audience and environment has changed. Call it the post-9/11 period, but action films have not been the same since. "Shoot'em Up" doesn't care. It's the most politically incorrect action film you're likely to see for a long time. Perverse and sadistic things happen throughout the film, ranging from Bellucci's character satisfying fetishes by allowing grown men to drink breast milk from her to Paul Giamatti sexually molesting a corpse. These are things one might normally consider taboo, but this film embraces them. No one in this film has any reservations about killing other human beings and I guess that's what makes it so fun. I mean, is there any way that a man like Clive Owen could take out 50 men with machine guns? Absolutely not, but he sure does make it look as plausible as possible. Owen really delivers here in a role that is really just a lot of shooting and one liners. Very little background is given to his character and he has absolutely no depth, but you're rooting for him to win. Why? Because he's the good guy.
As the balls-to-the-wall villain from hell, Paul Giamatti is as over the top as you get, his brows furrowing, his teeth gnashing and his cell phone ringing, as he periodically takes phone calls from his wife. I think Giamatti's direction was to take every single action movie villain he had ever seen and try to one up them, and he certainly gives them a run for their money. You can never decide whether or not his character is the ultimate bad ass or the ultimate pansy. And, as the hooker with the heart of hold, Monica Bellucci is absolutely stunning to look at, but you can barely understand a word that is coming out of her mouth, which is part of the fun. She is really just there to take care of the baby while Owen and Giamatti are shooting at one another. At one point, Owen's character decides the safest place for she and the baby is a tank. That's right - a tank. He takes her to a local museum and stashes them inside an old military tank, both bullet proof and explosive proof. Now, that is some clever thinking - I don't know why more heroes don't think like that.
In terms of a plotline, there really isn't one that makes sense here, but it doesn't need to make sense in order for us to enjoy the film. The whole point is that it doesn't make sense yet all of these men are shooting each other because they seem to think it does. I left the theatre with that surge of pure adrenaline I used to feel when walking out of a good action film. "Shoot'em Up" is certainly the most original action film in ages because it sticks to old formulas but modernizes them. It gives us a fantastic hero in Clive Owen and a fantastic villain in Paul Giamatti and it lets them kill as many people as possible, knowing damn good and well they're never going to get what they want. More than likely, most people will hate the film because they won't understand that it's making fun of itself on more than one occasion. I understood that and enjoyed it much more for knowing so. This is the type of film I would normally give 0/10 stars, just for not making sense and being implausible and totally ridiculous. Since that is what it was going for, I consider it a masterpiece because it accomplished all of its tasks. "Shoot'em Up", therefore, gets a perfect score. In a film that prays on all the faults within its own genre - "Shoot'em Up" is pretty faultless in doing so.
- added 09/11/2007, 06:19 PM
I didn't want to see this movie, because well,
Clive Owen just doesn't some like that type of a
badass. After reading the review though, I'm
actually giving watching it a serious though.
- added 05/25/2008, 10:52 PM
I watched this today. It was ridiculous and
awesome at the same. loved it. 10/10
- added 03/03/2009, 04:24 AM
Holy shit. Talk about one hell of a fun ride! I
had a grin plastered on my face through every over
the top action scene. 10/10
- added 07/07/2009, 01:25 PM
this shit is fucking funny
- added 05/18/2010, 02:22 AM
Thought this was great and I enjoyed some of the
music as well. 9/10
- added 05/18/2010, 01:31 PM
I get what this film was trying to do... and for
about 15 minutes or so, it almost succeeds in
carrying itself further than a short viral video
posted on youtube.
Utter and complete
While it seems silly to actually
critique this film because of the concept behind
it... it doesn't succeed in what it set out to do.
By the last reel, I was completely bored and
flicking between this and fucking Mythbusters
because I wanted to see if the chicken gun
experiment was going to work!
easy to hide inept film making behind the old
"I meant it to be bad" concept
defense... but for me, this film just flat out
sucked wind from the get-go. Clive Owen is a joke
as this character and Bellucci just embarrasses
herself here. Don't get me started on Giamatti...
what a waste of his considerable talent. Still,
he was easily the best part of this film... too
bad he didn't have more screen time.
I'll end with this... the movie flopped and to
date hasn't earned back it's budget costs for a
reason... and it wasn't because folks "didn't
Strictly a late night rental...
if that. Better films in this genre abound... Hot
5/10 if I'm drunk when I'm