Clive Owen
(originally written on September 8, 2007)
A lot of problems can develop if a film never really knows what it wants to be, if it walks a tightrope over a handful of genres and emotions. There seems to be dozens and dozens of action films that are borderline implausible, but then attempt to add some serious levels of human emotion that take its audience outside of the fun circle. Writer, director, and apparent comic action enthusiast, Michael Davis, has none of the issues I just mentioned with his film Shoot ‘Em Up. This is an action film and a comedy, a sort of live action, rude and demented version of a showdown between Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, in this case being Mr. Smith and Mr. Hertz.
Clive Owen is spot-on and handles the offbeat stuff well as Mr. Smith, who gets himself involved with the wrong people one night after coming to the aid of a pregnant woman being chased by a hefty amount of gunmen. In this opening scene, Owen takes a firearm from the woman, slips, slides and shoots down all of the useless henchman, all while delivering a baby. And this is only the beginning of the absurdity, albeit sublime absurdity, of Shoot ‘Em Up. It’s a film that by the end you could call a classic of its rare genre. Paul Giamatti plays the Fudd-like Mr. Hertz, and my oh my is he as remarkable as we’ve come to expect him in everything. He has a strange, psychotic sort of sense of humor, and an insane and ingenious way of tracking Mr. Smith. He always manages to locate him and the baby and the hooker who tags along (played by Monica Bellucci perfectly), but we all know that Bugs never gets caught, just cornered.
This film is a triumph of absurdity, a project that aims at going over-the-top of over-the-top, and scores. Everything, from the plot to the acting to the chaotically orchestrated, cartoonish gunfight scenes, are all labored over so much in an effort to make it seem like it wasn’t. I won’t go into any more detail about the little things that make each scene so memorable and unique, because I can’t. To do that would be criminal to your first viewing of the film. It’s the most fun I’ve had in the theater with a film like it, probably ever, and that makes it an instant classic of its kind.
Rating: A
1 hour 27 minutes
New Line Cinema

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2 Responses to “DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: Shoot ‘Em Up”

  1. kuldeep Says:

    Are you interested in writing movie reviews?

    Pls check out this opportunity at MoviePress,

  2. psyche Says:

    Very nice review, clean and clear…All I can say is Shoot’ Em Up is a nice film, the action is cool and the characters are absolutely great…I like this one…

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