Thursday, October 23, 2008
Shoot 'Em Up (2007)
(Image from IMP Awards)
Shoot 'Em Up (2007)
I'm a fan of Clive Owen, an actor who I think has an interesting and varied filmography; he tends to bring a cocky presence to all of his films (except, perhaps, Children of Men), and in 'Shoot 'Em Up' he really gets to crank that persona up to 11! Owen plays 'Smith', a man who at the start of the film reluctantly gets caught up in a shoot out, one in which he gets to deliver a baby amidst a hail of bullets! These opening scenes prepare you for what to expect from the film, which just continuously escalates its madness level. Entrusted with taking care of the baby, Smith turns to a lactating prostitute (yes, really) named DQ (Monica Bellucci) for help while running from the villainous decent family man Hertz (Paul Giamatti), who represents a group with a vested interest in killing the baby. Hertz always arrives on the scene with a seemingly endless army of thugs who obligingly provide target practice for the uber badass and completely unstoppable Smith.
Seriously, the action in here is so over the top that words cannot do it justice - if the baby delivery shootout sounds over the top, wait till you see the shootout / sex scene combo! This really is a live action cartoon, a fact alluded to by the completely overt references to Smith being Bugs Bunny (he eats carrots all the time, and in one scene says 'What's up doc?'). In between quarreling with DQ and dodging the scheming Hertz, Smith triest to find out why the baby is important enough for someone to expend so much effort to kill him. The revelation, when it finally arrives, is as fittingly goofy as everything else in the film!
Owen is great in the role, naturally. He's angry, violent, and completely badass. Monica Bellucci is sleazier than I've ever seen her, but still hot, and does a decent job in a fairly crude role. Paul Giamatti is every bit Owen's equal, the intellectual Elmer Fudd to Owen's arrogant Bugs (tell me you don't see it, go on!), and his calm scheming is every bit as enjoyable as watching him lose his cool every time Smith slips through his fingers.
The film is generally on overdrive all the way through, and is very much in the vein of Crank in that it is unabashedly crude, violent, and made purely for thrills. If you're not hooked within the first 10 minutes, then I can safely say it's not for you. The trailer, if I recall correctly, was a fair representation of the final film. There's nothing brilliant about 'Shoot 'Em Up' but it's quite good at doing what it says on the tin, and worth seeing if you're into this burgeoning sub-genre of insane action! I for one dug it, it's one of those films where I found myself grinning the whole way through!