"Shoot ‘Em Up" is right on target
Grab a gun and follow me...
Within the first five minutes of this deliriously over-the-top action flick an innocent bystander known only as Smith (that hardened rogue Clive Owen) kills a man with a carrot (yes, the vegetable) and aids a complete stranger in childbirth, all while firing a pistol and spouting off one-liners to would-be captors.
This is "Shoot ‘Em Up
," an unapologetically senseless action thrill ride by director Michael Davis (2003's "Monster Man"
). The plot is fairly simple and the pacing of the film wastes no time getting to it.
The mysterious Mr. Smith (and that's probably not his real name) is called upon to protect the newborn from an army of gunmen led by an assassin named Hertz (Paul Giamatti).
After narrowly escaping a hail of gunfire, Smith is on the run with a complete stranger's targeted-for-death baby and nowhere to hide.
He enlists a fetish-loving, lactating hooker (the beautiful Monica Bellucci) to wet-nurse the infant. Despite some dirty talk, she turns out to be more nurturing and maternal than badass bitch, which makes for a nice change in the cyclical world of action movie plots.
A brief word about the acting - though the dialogue is corny and full of one-liners, Clive Owen's Mr. Smith is the typical rough customer we've come to expect from Britain's latest and greatest cinematic scoundrel.
Giamatti triumphs as the bad guy with brains, who is shocked and hysterically enraged about how Smith and company manage to slip by him. "Do we suck this bad," he says at one point, "or is this guy really that good?"
Well, he is that good. And through one outlandish action scene (involving a skydiving shootout with secret servicemen) to the next (rigging a pulley-system to fire automatic weapons in a ammunitions warehouse), Smith outwits his would-be killer.
This film is embellished, blown up and bigger than life. It borders on parody on more than one occasion and never feels shame for it. "Shoot ‘Em Up"
is a bizarre melding of Frank Miller ("Sin City"
) and John Woo ("Face Off"
) and has more dual pistol wielding than you can shake a stick at.
If you're ready to sit back and enjoy an over-the-top popcorn flick, then go check out "Shoot ‘Em Up."
Sure it's unbelievable and overall senseless and without meaning but hey, it's a fond farewell to a summer that was nothing but senseless and effects-laden films anyway - so why not say goodbye in style?
The best part, you might ask? While "Shoot ‘Em Up"
borders on parody - it's almost as unbelievable as June's "Live Free or Die Hard,"
and has better heroes and villains (and acting) to boot.