Everything about this film is big. Big stars, big guns, big stunts, big hair bands and Monica Bellucci’s big…you get the idea. The only thing I could think to call this film, other than Shoot ‘Em Up, would be Death By Anthem Rock. Honestly, I don’t think anyone could think of a more appropriate title than this film already has.
The hero grins and the villain scowls as bullets rain from the sky and hit the ground to the rhythm of guitar solos. Our hero, Mr. Smith (Clive Owen), has just found a pregnant woman running from what seems to be an abusive boyfriend and can’t help but come to her aide. What he finds though, is a hit squad armed with guns and ready to kill the pregnant woman at first sight. He delivers the baby, but cannot deliver the mother to safety. He finds that this baby is alot more important than originally thought to be as the crazed leader of the hit squad steps up to take aim at our hero. The villain, Mr. Hertz (Paul Giamatti), has no idea what he is up against but knows that getting this baby won’t be easy.
While I can’t say that I loved Shoot ‘Em Up, I can say that I liked it alot. This film does present one of the biggest surprises of the year. From the trailer, though it was fun and flashy, the film appeared to be a dark, gritty, suspenseful action ride. Shoot ‘Em Up is at least not what I had expected. The film is an over the top, outrageous, comic filled roller coaster ride. Expect an experience that is like a video game come to life and defies all reason, morals, conventional behavior and of course gravity. Seriously, what can you expect from a movie where the hero refuses to carry guns, and instead carries carrots. Furthermore, a hero who kills two people with carrots and even goes as far as to spout the line “What’s up doc?”. It is only when a film decides to not take itself seriously, and the audience allows the film to not be taken seriously, that this type of movie can work. Sadly, it was roughly a year ago this exact type of film already worked for audiences.
Replace one cool British action hero with another, replace the drug theme with gun control and you have what used to be Crank, and is now Shoot ‘Em Up. For Jason Statham, Crank was a reach. The payoff was that it worked for him and the audience. For Clive Owen, Shoot ‘Em Up is an even bigger reach and could possibly end up hurting his career. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie alot. It was fun and kept me interested. However, after seeing Owen in a film like Children of Men, I don’t see Shoot ‘Em Up as being a step forward for an actor who is still growing into a superstar. The one downfall of the film could be an endless number of references and comparisons to Crank. One thing that this film had on Crank though, was Paul Giamatti.
Giamatti owned his role and provided the perfect foil for our hero. He had as much fun as possible with a type of role that he could have been playing for years. I loved Giamatti’s attitude and swagger throughout the film and the witty interactions that he shared with Owen. Monica Bellucci was as beautiful as ever, even as a lactating prostitute. She didn’t contribute much to the film though, other than her breasts (In more ways than one).
The Upside: Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti pointing guns at eachother
The Downside: I already saw this movie when it was called Crank
On the Side: The film’s baby, Baby Oliver, was played by twins Sidney Mende-Gibson and Lucas Mende-Gibson. No relation