Shoot ‘Em Up

September 25, 2007


 A serious contender for daftest film of 2007, Shoot ‘Em Up is explained entirely in the title.  Clive Owen plays Mr Smith, lone man who saves a heavily pregnant woman from lots of men wearing black and carrying guns.  He delivers the baby, and goes on the run with it, enlisting the help of sultry prostitute Donna Quintana (Monica Bellucci), who specialises in lactating.  But hitman Mr Hertz (Paul Giamatti) will stop at nothing to make sure the baby dies, and has an endless army of men wearing black and carrying guns to help him complete the assignment.

It is quite similar to John Woo’s 1992 groundbreaking, hardcore action classic Hard Boiled, which had Chow Yun Fat running around shooting lot of men dressed in black carrying guns whilst protecting a baby.  That had a plot of sorts, and Shoot ‘Em Up almost does.  But fortunately, it never takes itself seriously.  All tongues are placed firmly in cheeks throughout. It’s all patently ridiculous of course.  The action sequences are almost non-stop, and all involve Owen shooting people up, as the title suggests.  Bullets fly, blood pours, people die in odd ways (death by carrot?), but it’s all pulled off in an absurdly fun manner, and is surprisingly inventive.  The shoot-out whilst in freefall from an aeroplane is fantastically crazy, as is the revealing shot of over a dozen bodies lying in pools of blood after they’ve hit the ground as Smith walks away, unharmed of course.  Owen is perfectly cast as the hero, Bellucci just looks incredibly sexy and Giamatti has a hell of a lot of fun.  He and Owen continually shoot out one liners ranging from very funny (“You know what the difference is between a wife and a gun?  You can put a silencer on a gun.”) to extremely crude (“Fuck you you fucking fuckers”).  But it knows that its very limited story can only sustain a running time of just over 80 minutes (much like last year’s equally little-plotted but thoroughly enjoyable Crank).  A short, sharp, adrenaline fuelled blast.


4/5 Bullet magazines emptied


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