With Shoot ‘Em Up writer/director Michael Davis seems to have been shooting for (pun intended) the ultimate action flick, and if by that term it means a nonsensical plot and brilliantly over the top action sequences, then he has achieved his goal.
Shoot ‘Em Up stars Clive Owen as Mr. Smith, a mysterious dead shot with a chip on both shoulders who grudgingly helps a pregnant woman who has come under attack by a group of armed men led by Hertz (Paul Giamatti), a sadistic and perverted former FBI forensic behaviour consultant.
After the woman gives birth – and is subsequently killed – Smith takes it upon himself to play the baby’s protector, enlisting the help of lactose dispensing prostitute Quintano (Monica Belluci) to help care for the baby, as he solves a conspiracy involving a Democratic presidential candidate and a leading gun manufacturer who both want the baby dead.
Shoot ‘Em Up is an extremely silly film, which is almost farcical in its execution. It contains dreadful dialogue full of expletives and cheesy one liners, a senseless plot (which scores points for having its political villain as a Democrat and not the usual old Republican), even worse character development and some peculiar ideas on gun control and raising children.
But then again, this is a film called Shoot ‘Em Up so a strong plot and logic should not really come into the equation. What really matters here is action, and it delivers as a high energy, fun action flick that is spurned on by a rocking soundtrack and innovative gunplay.
The crazy action sequences would make John Woo weep with envy. There are shootout’s during child birth, shootout’s during sex, shootout’s while sky diving, etc. Good sense is kicked, stomped on, and torn apart before being thrown out of the window, and if it had the tenacity to come back, then a quick shot to the head will finish it off.
Shoot ‘Em Up is the Looney Toon’s made flesh. Clive Owen’s Mr. Smith is Bugs Bunny, chomping away on his carrots whilst always on step ahead of the bad guys. Paul Gimatti’s Hertz is an amalgamation of Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam.
Both Owen and Giamatti (two of the better character actors working today) are good fun, Giamatti in particular hamming it up gloriously. Monica Belluci does not do much besides provide good scenery.
Shoot ‘Em Up is perhaps the guilty pleasure flick of 2007. It is a highly entertaining action movie featuring a blacker then black form of comedy that will either insult (which it will) or make the viewer laugh (which it does). Just remember; no logic allowed!