"Shoot 'Em Up"
Directed by Michael Davis.
Written by Michael Davis.
Starring Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Monica Bellucci.
Release Year: 2007
Review Date: 9/10/07
I downloaded the trailer for "Shoot 'Em Up"
on my Xbox 360, which has a marketplace tool that allows you to
download not only games but also movies and upcoming movie trailers;
after taking a glimpse at the action in the trailer, I thought that
"Shoot 'Em Up" might be the R-rated period piece that would take me
back to the lovely stretch in the 1980s and early 90s when the
action/comedy genre was in full swing. (Damn, I miss you,
"Shoot 'Em Up" only runs for about 80
minutes, and it doesn't pack the wallop that I was hoping for, but
as a candy-filled gun adventure, it isn't too bad. Clive Owen
stars as Mr. Smith, a bum in the crime-filled city of _______ who
just happens to have a Past that clearly involved being very good at
killing a lot of people; when the film opens, he's waiting for the
bus when he intervenes on the near-killing of a pregnant woman, who
delivers a baby that Smith spends the rest of the film protecting.
On his tail is Hertz (Paul Giamatti), who was trying to kill that
pregnant lady when the flick opens; it's not initially clear why
he's so bent on killing a newborn child, and we spend time
in-between action sequences to learn why, in the "plot."
As you are watching this film, there are a
couple of things that really boggle the mind as you soak this in:
first, what are three such strong actors (Owen, Giamatti and Monica
Bellucci) doing in a mindless action film? Second, did Clive
Owen really turn down doing things like the latest set of Bond films
to do this? Getting past this, the action here really is quite
ridiculous; between Mr. Smith buying ammo with food stamps at the
local pawn shop or gunning down foes while flying back down to earth
after jumping out of a plane, you are doing almost as much laughing
as you are gasping at the shock value of watching guys getting
impaled by carrot sticks. It's not that this is bad, but this
certainly isn't that great, either...but, it goes down so easily,
you don't mind the aftereffects.
All of the actors--our three primes, plus
the random supporting cast--seem to be embracing the comedic nature
of "Shoot 'Em Up", and Giamatti actually works in this role after
avoiding roles in action films for the majority of his run to fame
over the last five years or so. Some of the stunts are pretty
cool, and at least the movie never gets bogged down by keeping the
overall movie short and leaving very little space between shootouts.
But something is definitely missing here, and while I don't know
quite what that is, I know that it leaves you wanting more from this
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard