Time: 86 Minutes
Age Rating: Violence, Offensive Language and Sex Scenes
Clive Owen as Mr. Smith
Paul Giamatti as Karl Hertz
Monica Bellucci as Donna “D.Q.” Quintano
Stephen McHattie as Hammerson
Director: Michael Davis
In the middle of the night, while waiting for a bus in a bus station, a lonely stranger called Mr. Smith (Clive Owen) sees a pregnant woman being chased by a man with a gun. He follows the couple, kills the man and helps the delivery of the baby in the middle of a shootout while a gang of hit-man tries to shoot them up. The woman is killed but Smith saves the baby, escaping from Hertz (Paul Giamatti), the leader of the killers. Then he meets the prostitute Donna Quintano (Monica Bellucci), who has just lost her baby, and asks her to breastfeed the newborn. They are chased by Hertz and Smith discovers the reason why the bad guy wants to kill the baby.
Shoot Em Up gets everything right in what it sets out to do – to be an over the top, silly and highly entertaining movie. If you are looking for strong, realistic stories, this isn’t going to be your thing. However, if you are willing to suspend your disbelief and able to accept that you are watching an unbelievably ridiculous movie, there’s a chance that you may end up loving it, I know I did.
The pacing is right for the movie it’s going for – it starts with a bang and doesn’t stop. Even during scenes which are slower, they aren’t so slow that they lose our attention. These scenes also allow us time to breathe after the exhilarating action scenes, without taking us out of the experience. I’m also glad that the filmmakers also know what sort of movie it is and embraces it, without adding some needless drama which could really take us out of the experience. The plot isn’t really worth focussing on, it’s quite simple anyway: Clive Owen protects a baby from bad guys. The film is also set at the right length, 86 minutes – it doesn’t overstay its welcome and gets all its entertaining parts in the right amount of time. There’s one flaw that I noticed, until near the end, Clive Owen is never outmatched and is always on top of things, which is something that a lot of bad action movies nowadays have. I’m however willing to let this slide, as it isn’t supposed to be taken seriously, whereas a movie like Lucy (which is meant to be taken more seriously), isn’t excused.
Clive Owen is well suited to the part to play this brooding character but he’s played in an entertaining way, and he doesn’t take it too seriously. He is quite funny actually, especially with his often cheesy one liners (like putting a carrot through someone’s head and saying “Eat your vegetables”). Paul Giamatti is very entertaining as the villain, it just looks like that he’s having a ball playing this over the top character. Monica Bellucci was also pretty good in her role, and fitted in well with what was going on.
The action scenes are fast paced and don’t hold back in its violence or how over the top it is. The majority of the action scenes are unrealistic, the first death scene involves Clive Owen punching a carrot into someone’s head through their mouth and it just escalates from there. The action scenes are well done for the type of action that they’re going for. The only scene that didn’t feel good was when Clive Owen and other characters are falling out of an airplane, some it looked good but the CGI at time didn’t feel right.
Shoot Em Up is probably not for everyone, especially if you can’t handle how unrealistic the movie can take its direction sometimes. This movie at least for me, is one of the best over the top action movies I’ve ever seen and I was thoroughly entertained throughout the entire runtime. If you are an action flick fanatic, you should definitely check this one out, you won’t regret it.