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The embodiment of unflappable cool, Clive Owen calmly blows away an Army of Assassins in 'Shoot 'Em Up', a deliriously over-the-top exercise in Pulp Filmmaking that's a tongue-in-cheek homage to the cinema of John Woo.
Perversely funny and absurdly violent, Writer/Director Michael Davis' film is a hyper-stylized star vehicle for the effortlessly charismatic Owen; fresh from dodging bullets and mortar fire in the unjustly overlooked 'Children of Men' (2006). The roguishly handsome Brit holds the screen in 'Shoot 'Em Up' with his unwavering gaze as Mr. Smith, a one-man killing machine — and ferociously devoted babysitter.
Inspired by the Iconic Image of Chow Yun-Fat packing heat and a baby in Woo's 'Hard Boiled' (1992), 'Shoot 'Em Up' opens with Owen's carrot-chomping, lone wolf gunman reluctantly saving a pregnant woman from an assassin. When she inconveniently expires after giving birth, Smith finds himself protecting the infant, who's been marked for death by Hertz (Paul Giamatti), a former FBI profiler fielding long-distance calls from his clueless wife between gun battles.
Not exactly a warm and fuzzy father figure, Smith turns to bodacious prostitute Dona Quintana (Monica Bellucci), aka DQ, for help with the baby. Initially hostile to his pleas, DQ soon joins him on his bullet-splattered quest to discover why Hertz and his army of sharp-shooting goons are so determined to kill the baby boy Smith and DQ name Oliver (as in Dickens' Oliver Twist).
A former storyboard artist, Davis orchestrates the film's nearly wall-to-wall action sequences with breakneck precision and exhilarating verve — the more outrageous the mayhem, the better.
Although Davis pays tribute to Woo and Sergio Leone, among other directors, 'Shoot 'Em Up' often feels like a kinky, corpse-strewn riff on a classic Warner Bros. cartoon, peppered with sly jabs at American Gun Culture and "family values."
Never breaking a sweat, much less a smile, throughout all of 'Shoot 'Em Up', Owen is ideally cast as the misanthropic rogue gunman, living in a squat with only a trained rat for company/home security system. Against his better judgment and natural instincts, Smith develops an attachment to both DQ and Oliver, but Owen reveals his character's transformation so subtly, almost cryptically, that Smith never loses his edge. He finds an ideal adversary in Giamatti's Hertz, who looks more like a sad-sack office drone instead of a ruthless killer (Giamatti reportedly modeled his character's nondescript look on the infamous "BTK" Serial Killer).
As for Belluci (The Matrix Revolutions), Italy's reigning sex symbol is so lusciously beautiful as 'Shoot 'Em Up's' literal "Madonna/Whore" character, you can forgive her somewhat wobbly grasp of English.
A rollicking hoot from start to finish, 'Shoot 'Em Up' is the most satisfying, ultra-stylized action flick since 'Sin City' (2005).
Cannot Disappoint !!!! AWESOME !!!!
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 viewers along.
The casting is genius as well, beginning with Clive Owen, who's dead-on here, with his ever-present carrot in hand, rescuing the (adorable) baby, getting the girl, killing the bad guys (who just keep coming like deranged vampire replicants), even solving The Mystery from the most obscure of clues, all while complaining about everything he hates.
And speaking of the great Paul Giamatti, he's in monumentally fine form here as Hertz, the self-described brilliant leader of the gunmen. Squallid and seedy beyond all comprehension, you just know he's having a blast (pun intended) with this part. After proving in his last few outings that he can carry a film and play anything, he gets to bask hardily in full venal mode, sneering, scowling and torturing his way into our hearts as only Giamatti can.
The film is shot in stark, sharp tones, making it look like a comic book come to life more than any film I've ever seen, while still using real actors. And there are sequences here that you have NOT witnessed before, speaking of that originality I mentioned earlier. The one which stood out most to me is the one where Clive Owen and Monica Bellucci (also perfect) are making love and the baddies bust in. In most films, this would pre-empt the love-making. In Shoot 'Em Up, they continue the act, which actually culminates while the bullets are flying. Worked for me.
Shoot Em Up is a very enjoyable movie, if you don't mind a bit of blood and gore. Clive Owen delivers a knockout performance as the elusive "Smith" and proves as agile in dark comedy as he is physically deft with a variety of firearms. The storyline is actually rather sophisticated for this genre, involving an orphaned newborn whom Owen's character tries to protect from annihilation even as he attempts to determine why so many baddies want the little baby out of the picture. The always versatile Paul Giamatti delivers another likeably smarmy villain as the ringleader of the scores of assassins who try and fail to stop Smith in his quest to keep the innocent child alive. The action is non-stop and the heavy alt-metal soundtrack is peppered with classics from Nirvana and Motley Crue, providing the ideal backdrop for this shoot ‘em up thriller.
Clive Owen Performance is as good as his performance in Sin City! He plays the perfect Bond-esque hero figure with a lot of one liners!
Paul Giamatti plays the perfect nemesis to the Clive Owen Character. I belive his antagonist character rivaled many of the Bond Antagonists, and he brought a lot of tongue & cheek humor to this character. Monica Belluci plays the hot female love interest & she simply makes the silver screen. The Sex/Shoot'Em Up Sex Scene is one that I never scene in any flick! This movie is shear adreline action, and is just fun to watch!
The movie is meant to be an action movie parody comedy. With that in mind, you can't really take it seriously. If you don't, you will find a movie where you will be laughing so hard because of how over-the-top the shooting scenes are, but at the same time you will enjoy them because of how well done they are. This is a great and fun movie to watch, and the trio (Clive, Monica and Paul) made it even better.
Be warned though, it IS very violent, has a bit of nudity, a sex scene and has bad language.