Director – Michael Davis
Writer – Michael Davis
Director of Photography – Peter Pau
Editor – Peter Amundson
Music – Paul Haslinger
Producers – Susan Montford & Don Murphy
New Line Cinema. 86 minutes. Rated R for pervasive strong bloody violence, sexuality and some language.
STARRING: Clive Owen (Smith), Paul Giamatti (Hertz), Monica Bellucci (Donna Quintano), Stephen McHattie (Hammerson), Daniel Pilon (Senator Rutledge) and Ramona Pringle (Baby Oliver’s Mother).
Shoot ‘Em Up is an unbelievable action film – which is exactly what writer/director Michael Davis (100 Girls, Monster Man) made it to be. There is no pretext of a believable story line – just action, more action and over-the-top action. For fans of the genre, Shoot ‘Em Up is like a wet dream.
Clive Own stars as Smith, a vagabond sitting at a bus stop when a fleeing pregnant woman runs by followed moments later by a hitman. Smith takes a few chomps on his carrot (this film might have been an action film crossed with a Looney Tunes short) before grudgingly going off top her rescue.
Smith manages to save the woman from the initial attacker, but after she gives birth, more hitmen arrive on the scene. At this point I realized any sense of reality the filmmakers might have given us was to be blasted, not merely thrown, out the window. 30 men to kill one pregnant woman? Obviously, they should have sent more, as Owen’s Smith kills every last one without breaking a sweat.
Paul Giamatti arrives as the leader of the villains, Hertz, a former “forensic behavior consultant” to the FBI and proceeds to chew up the scenery as the psychopathic antagonist, nagged throughout the film by his wife on the phone.
Smith doesn’t succeed in saving the baby’s mother, but does escape with the child who he names Oliver. A brief montage follows as Smith attempts to care for the baby by watching other parents on the streets that is as likely to be insulting as it is humorous to new parents.
The rest of the film consists of Smith trying to protect baby Oliver from Hertz’s literal legions of henchman with the assistance of a wet nurse, Italian bombshell Monica Bellucci (Malena, The Matrix Reloaded, The Brothers Grimm), who happens to be a prostitute.
One-liners fly almost as fast as bullets as each action sequence tries to upstage the previous (and, for that matter all other action film set pieces). Ultimately, Shoot ‘Em Up is exactly what you would expect from a film with that title. It revels in it’s B-Movie sequences and storyline with an A-Movie budget. It’s an enjoyable action film, that goes way over the top, likely to become a cult favorite for years to come.