Shoot 'Em Up movie poster
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Shoot 'Em Up movie poster

Shoot 'Em Up Movie Review

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OK, wow. I don't know how to begin. I just watched Shoot 'Em Up, which arrives on DVD on January 1, 2008. It's really a piece of crap, albeit an entertaining piece of crap. Writer/director Michael Davis must have - hopefully - known that his movie is garbage and appears to have had a fun time making this ludicrous fluff piece. The actors, on the other hand, appear to have just shown up for a paycheck.

Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti have both been sailing when it comes to career moves, but Shoot 'Em Up is an ugly misstep. Luckily for them, very few people are ever going to see this film, but it was a wonder as to how these two talented actors wound up in this stinker, which is full of some of the worst one-liners I've heard in decades and over-the-top action sequences that put Jason Statham movies to shame.

The plot of Shoot 'Em Up is this: some random guy (Owen) who's very good at shooting people ends up getting involved in a firefight between Giamatti and his gang of goons and a pregnant woman. In the middle of a shootout, Owen manages to deliver the baby, but shortly thereafter the mother is killed and he is forced to take the baby with him. For some reason, these bad guys will stop at nothing to kill the baby, and the rest of the movie is one action sequence after another. That might sound all fine and good, but here are a few examples of what happens in these action scenes: Giamatti, with a sniper rifle, tries to kill the baby after Owen has abandoned it on a playground; to protect the baby, Owen shoots the carousel that the baby is on repeatedly to make it spin, hence making it difficult for Giamatti to get a clear shot. In another, Owen has sex with Monica Bellucci while shooting several people who are attacking them. In yet another, Owen gets in a nasty car crash, the car flips over repeatedly and then lands on its wheels and keeps going. But wait! The baby flew out of the window. He turns around to grab it, but there is a van full of killers approaching. What to do? Shoot out your windshield, shoot out their windshield, remove your seatbelt and inflict a head-on collision. Then you'll fly safely through your now-open windshield, safely land in the back of their van and shoot all of them dead. I switched tenses there - my apologies.

Oh, there's also a scene where Owen jumps from a jet and several bad guys (who somehow manage to get suited up for just such an occassion instantly) leap out after him, and what we get is a several-minute shoot out in the sky. It's like Crank, only the hero was smart enough to wear a parachute.

It's this over-the-top stuff that is both the saving grace and downfall of Shoot 'Em Up. With a horrid title such as this, no one could have expected it to be very good (though I don't know how any of the studio heads expected it to make any money, either), but there so many absolutely ridiculous sequences in the movie that it's often cringe-inducing - while at the same time a cause for chuckles. Is the goofiness of the film intentional, or did Davis honestly believe he was making the next Desperado? It's hard to tell, but Shoot 'Em Up is only as good as you're willing to take enjoyment in garbage.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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