Shoot Em Up
- Clive Owen as Mr. Smith
- Paul Giamatti as Karl Hertz
- Monica Bellucci as Donna Quintano
Balls to the wall set pieces, brutal shoot outs and outrageously dark humour mix in the hugely enjoyable action extravaganza Shoot Em Up. Subtlety and overall logic goes out the window and this movie is all the better for it as it revs up the gears and doesn’t pause for breath. Think of a dozen action movies put in a blender and mixed to the highest speed and you get the general idea of what Shoot Em Up is promising you.
Carrot-munching loner Mr. Smith is minding his own business one night when he sees a heavily pregnant woman being chased by a pack of men with guns. Intervening and showing his own killer skill with any form of firearm, Smith manages to help the woman deliver her baby as he slays the bad guys. Sadly, the woman dies but Smith manages to escape with the baby boy. The leader of the goons after the baby is the crazed psychopath Karl Hertz, who doesn’t take kindly to Smith coming along and taking the child he wanted to get. Now in a game of violent cat and mouse, Smith flees as Hertz and his tooled up buddies come following at every turn. Smith enlists the help of prostitute Donna Quintano, who specialises in providing lactating services to her clientele. She is initially reluctant to help as her and Smith have history, but eventually comes around when Hertz attempts to find the baby and tortures her. As bullets fly and the chase begins, Smith and Donna must protect the baby from the harm that is coming very close to him in a crazy plot of seedy dealings and blood-splattered carnage, headed by the unstable Hertz.
From the get go, Shoot Em Up announces itself as a movie that moves at a hundred miles an hour and isn’t one for people who are looking for depth and substance. Words like audacious, over the top and outrageous were practically invented to describe a movie like this. Michael Davis successfully directs with daring flair, moving from one shocking set piece to the next while underscoring it with a perverse and mordant humour. And those set pieces are thrilling rides to say the very least; a battle while skydiving, a shootout during a passionate bout of lovemaking between Smith and Donna and Smith’s ingenious use of carrots as weapons. Many will take issue with the sheer preposterous nature of the film, but it is best to just surrender to the action spectacle and let your faith take a leap if you really want to revel in it. A cracking editing format of slow motion combining with razor-sharp cuts makes Shoot Em Up a kinetic movie of the highest order. And a fantastic soundtrack of heavy metal perfectly matches the dark events on the screen and the always on the move characters.
Clive Owen is the perfect person to play the role of the enigmatic but highly skilled Smith. He imbues the part with a cynical attitude and a chivalrous core, not to mention immense athletic prowess and marksmanship. I really couldn’t think of anyone better to play the role of this hero. Paul Giamatti essays the part of the crazed and know it all villain with delicious finesse and barely contained droll humour. To say he is a riot to watch would be a huge understatement to how off the wall he is in this movie. Monica Bellucci is excellent as the seductive prostitute with a heart of gold and a calming influence on Smith, who becomes something of a surrogate mother to the baby boy thrust into her protection from evil. Her chemistry with Owen is marvellous and the way they play off one another is quite something.
Over the top, unabashedly shocking and a complete thrill ride, Shoot Em Up is a crazy film that plays by its own rules and delivers action in spades.