Shoot ‘Em Up: 2007 Movie Review
‘Audacious’… what a fantastic word that is, it also describes this movie perfectly, audacious, ridiculous, fun, preposterous, over the top, cartoony, violent, all of these words expound the utter brilliance and craziness that this film represents.
Cast: Clive Owen, Monica Bellucci, Paul Giamatti, Stephen McHattie, Greg Byrk, Daniel Pilon. Director: Michael Davis. Writer: Michael Davis.
After saving a new born baby from a motley band of assassins, our carrot wielding hero Smith (Clive Owen) teams up with lady of the night Donna Quintano (Monica Bellucci) to protect the baby from further attempts on his life by sociopathic hit-man Hertz (Paul Giamatti.) Smith and Quintano slowly unravel a conspiracy that reaches to the highest echelons of the Government, whilst also shooting a truckload of bad guys and chomping on copious amounts of carrots!
Ah, Shoot Em Up, this is probably the most preposterous yet fun action movie ever made, a pure adrenaline fuelled ride through a world inhabited by corrupt Senators, crazed assassins, and a carrot consuming anti-hero with a penchant for one liners and a dislike of his fellow man. British actor Clive Owen plays Smith, a mysterious stranger who is an expert in dual wielding a gun and a carrot. Intervening in the attempted assassination of a pregnant woman, Smith manages to decimate the assassins and help the mother conceive the baby in an utterly over the top intro that perfectly introduces the tone and humour of this amazingly violent rollercoaster of an action movie.
The always excellent Paul Giamatti is outstanding in the role of ex-FBI profiler turned cold hearted hitman Hertz, in fact he embraces the character with such zeal and fervour that he manages to steal the limelight away from Clive Owen (whose performance is still an understated gem.) Giamatti’s character embodies a perfect blend of callous killer, dark humour and calculated intelligence, embracing every outrageous scene with a wry smirk and an arrogant condescension of his allies and peers.
Rounding out our terrific trio of leads is talented and stunning Italian actress Monica Bellucci, who gives a strangely (in context of the film) moving and impassioned turn as a prostitute with a tragic past, who takes on the role of surrogate mother to the rescued baby and acts as a great counterbalance to Smith’s outrageous antics and frequently hilarious temper tantrums.
Writer/Director Michael Davis’ describes Shoot ‘Em Up as a fusion of James Bond and classic John Woo actioner Hard Boiled. Though to be honest, it is without a doubt an excessive parody of those great movies, and is all the better for it. Smith makes for an enigmatic lead and is definitely more the ‘everyman’ type than Bond will ever be. Look for a scene early in the movie where Smith throws aside the gun he was using because it jams, with the line “Piece of crap”, the gun is a PPK, Bond’s famous sidearm (it was even rumoured that Clive Owen was up for the role of Bond alongside Daniel Craig, though Owen later refuted the fact.)
Shoot ‘Em Up manages to combine wonderful performances from its three main leads, some of the most rip-roaringly absurd action sequences ever committed to celluloid, including a crazy sky diving shoot-out and numerous carrot related deaths(!?) plus an exquisitely dark sense of humour that is contrasted by its playful exuberance. Though gunplay inevitably takes the starring role in the film, it is so ridiculous and cartoon like that anyone would be hard pressed to take offence. In fact the film has an undertone of gun culture revulsion that runs subtly throughout, but ultimately it is the veraciously exaggerated performances by Giamatti and Owen that makes the film such a joy to watch.
Precinct1313 Rating: 5 pistol wielding gunsmiths out of 5.