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Shoot 'Em Up

A movie directed by Michael Davis

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Bullet Ballet and Pistol Opera With A Lot of Thugs, A Baby, A Woman and Carrots!!

  • Jul 3, 2011
I rented this film with low expectations. A friend of mine said that it was stupid so I saw this with an open mind and extra low expectations. "Shoot `Em Up" is a movie with a title that speaks for itself. True, the film is so ridiculously unreal but boy, it sure is a lot of fun to watch! Action and gunplay is all you're in for with this film as it makes fun of the ridiculousness of action films. Remember the old gripe: “Either this guy is so good or we just suck so bad….” This is the mindset you need to be once you sit down for this film.

A man named Smith (Clive Owen) with a sordid past is in a bus stop one evening. He spies a pregnant woman being pursued by bad guys led by Hertz (Paul Giamatti) and decides to get involved. Along for the ride is a beautiful prostitute (Monica Belucci) and what results is a fast-paced action packed shoot `em up from start to finish....


Such a short description of the plot details, isn't it? Actually, there is a plot, it just gets broken down throughout the proceedings. While I do not want to go through the details, I will just describe it by going through its themes: a Baby for the rescuing, a beautiful hooker (Monica Belucci), an eccentric bad guy, a politician mixed in and an anti-hero with an unknown past. The rest is non-stop hyper-kinetic action. Writer and director Michael Davis knew what he wanted to do when he made this film. A slam-bang, hard-boiled cool stylish action flick that is stripped down much of anything else such as intricate storytelling and character development. This is a very gutsy move on his part. Critical eyes (Hey, I am a nit-picker myself) may argue that the lack of plot is its downfall and while it is, the director sure knew where he was headed. Sometimes, audiences just want action and "Shoot `Em Up" does deliver!

The style of the film is a bit hard to breakdown. Remember the times when we thought: “man, it was so silly and stupid; the bad guys miss and the good guy takes on like 50 men…not realistic.“ Well, this is the entire point to the film, to make fun of the factors that make action movies unbelievable, bombastic and yet so much fun. Let's see, I did catch minor similarities to the atmosphere of a comic book inspired film "Sin City" (in color), Hong Kong "Bullet Ballet" and Japanese "Pistol Opera", the sly humor and grittiness of "Reservoir Dogs", the outrageous silliness of "Planet Terror" and the intense attitude of Luc Besson films. I believe the director really wanted to overload our senses with a lot of adrenaline-driven action sequences so the weaknesses of the film will not reach our brains. This film is pure action "junk" with one goal; to entertain its viewer.

With a movie with almost no plot and character depth, it is important that the lead actor fits the role otherwise the movie will be a farce. Thankfully, Clive Owen manages to convincingly pull off his anti-hero role with dynamic charisma that complements the screenplay. It is also fortunate that Owen is supported by the great performance of Paul Giamatti who plays the lead villain; Hertz and mega babe Monicca Belucci sure is very pleasing to the eyes as Donna. Also, it was very amusing and cool that the film-makers opted for the use of carrots instead of the stereotypical cigarettes or toothpicks to express and signify the hero's "coolness" and intense personality.

"SHOOT `EM UP" is geared towards the male audience with its unrealistic, ridiculously over-the-top action sequences under a bombastic atmosphere. But I am almost certain that the female audience will be swooned with Owen's charismatic appeal. While its main weakness is the unreal comic book approach and the requirement to suspend disbelief, it also makes it its greatest strength. I have to commend the director in knowing exactly what he was "aiming" for. I've read that Baby Oliver was cast in the role before he was born, a woman carrying twins was selected. If that didn't exhibit commitment to his art, then I'm not sure what else. I admire directors who know which direction they want to go. The film plays almost like a stunt performance but hey, I am not complaining. Ultimately, "Shoot `Em Up" is a fun and entertaining experience. Ridiculous, unrealistic and maybe even cartoonish; but one thing it sure isn't is boring. The film is a lot of FUN.

RECOMMENDED! For Action Junkies and a Rental for Everyone Else  [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

I would advise to watch this without any minors present because of the nudity, sexual themes and tons of bad language.

VIDEO/AUDIO: 2.40 ratio ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN. The picture is almost flawless, colors are vibrant with very strong blacks when needed. The transfer is sharp and clean. If you're equipped, please utilize the 6.1 DTS-ES soundtrack; you'll be able to hear every gunshot that maximizes the viewing experience.

This review was originally posted in Amazon.com when the dvd was released.

Bullet Ballet and Pistol Opera With A Lot of Guns, Bullets and Carrots!! Bullet Ballet and Pistol Opera With A Lot of Guns, Bullets and Carrots!!

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July 09, 2011
Monica Belucci all my thoughts are x rated so I'm just gonna say WOW!!! But I did like this shoot em up movie. I've seen it 3 times....Monica...WOW!!!
July 03, 2011
I liked this one, great review.
July 03, 2011
Stupid title, stupid plot, but you say there are carrots? Are they organic?
July 03, 2011
yup...gluten-free and all natural.
July 03, 2011
Uh, why would carrots have gluten?
July 03, 2011
I did say gluten-free...hello!!
July 03, 2011
I know, that was the joke. Carrots wouldn't normally have gluten so saying they are gluten-free is just sort of amusingly redundant. Kind of like saying vegetarian-approved vegetables. ; )
July 03, 2011
I actually saw soemthing with carrots in a bag and it says gluten-free...which was the joke. :) marketing ploys these days....LOL!
July 03, 2011
What's next bottled oxygen that says organic and with no preservatives?! LMAO!
July 03, 2011
tell me about it. They're marketing water in a way that is organic now also. Things they come up with these days. I often just buy frozen veggies these days since they are cheaper.
More Shoot 'Em Up reviews
review by . August 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
***1/2 out of ****     I'm no grouch when it comes to entertainment at the sacrifice of real characters of a compelling story; and this is precisely why I'm able to accept films as ridiculous, absurd, loud, and violent as "Shoot 'Em Up"; which is like a hyper violent lost episode of Bugs Bunny on crack. It's fast-paced and should be the perfect antidote for genre fans, because most action movies are either too restrained or not preposterous enough; they just don't cross the lines …
review by . November 15, 2008
Whoah! If you're looking for mindless action, THIS is the movie for you.   It's over the top, totally unbelievable, physically impossible, but absolutely brilliant all at the same time.     2 minute version:     Clive Owen eats a lot of carrots, and values his privacy. There are many things that he absolutely hates, and he comes into contact with most of these things when he unwillingly gets involved in a plot to kill a very pregnant young woman. …
review by . January 03, 2008
To be honest, for the first 10 minutes of this film, you will probably be laughing at the ridiculousness. You are catapulted straight into the action without any introduction of characters, plot or surroundings. This film is violent, sure, but as I always say, it's how a movie is done that makes the difference. Shoot 'Em Up proceeds from one dazzlingly outrageous scene to another with unflagging confidence, tons of panache, brilliantly warped humor and blazing originality, sweeping you and many …
review by . January 04, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
SHOOT 'EM UP is well named: this is a whompingly good action movie that is as much parody of its genre as it is a good story. It never for a moment takes itself seriously and it is played by a strong cast of top-drawer actors having a terrific time. Writer/director Michael Davis has found his niche and let's hope there will be more dark comedies that are as much fun to watch as this one.    The story is negligible: lone man Smith (Clive Owen at his best) observes a pregnant woman …
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Every action movie has a moment so over the top you have to laugh;Shoot 'Em Upconsists of nothing but these moments. A carrot-eating, lone wolf kind of guy named Smith (Clive Owen,Children of Men,Inside Man) steps in to protect a pregnant woman from a gunman--and finds himself, with the aid of a lactating prostitute (Monica Belluci,The Matrix Revisited), defending the newborn child from a sleazy contract killer Mr. Hertz (Paul Giamatti,American Splendor,Sideways) and his army of thugs. That's pretty much the plot, but story is beside the point. Writer/director Michael Davis (Monster Man) has a keen sense of what matters in an action movie. The rapid-fire editing is scrupulously coherent; you always grasp what happened in every shoot-out, even if it flagrantly violates the laws of physics or basic plausibility. Explaining how Smith survives a four-story fall--even if that explanation is beyond ridiculous--demonstrates both a sense of wit and a winking respect for the audience's imagination. As a result,Shoot 'Em Upis ten times more entertaining than the likes ofTransformersorRush Hour 3, movies so self-satisfied with special effects or movie stars that they forgot to be fun. (Shoot 'Em Up's only weakness is a sliver of misogyny, the one action movie cliche that it's not clever enough to transcend.)--Bret Fetzer
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