Clive Owen kills people with carrots! What’s not to love about that?!
Shoot ‘Em Up is one of my favourite films of all time and definitely my favourite action film. Clive Owen plays carrot toting Smith, a man with a mysterious past who just so happens to be around when a pregnant woman is followed into a warehouse by thugs with guns. Luckily, Smith arrives just in time to save the day and deliver the baby in a very unconventional method (shooting the umbilical chord) and teams up with his favourite prostitute in order to save the baby from falling into the hands of Paul Giamatti’s character ‘Hertz’ (I have seen the film countless times and I’m only just finding out the villain’s name now). It’s fast paced, adrenaline fuelled, completely ridiculous but so glorious at the same time.
On the face of it, Shoot ‘Em Up looks like a mindless action film that just involves Clive Owen shooting a lot of people all of the time. And while this is partially true, Shoot ‘Em Up is surprisingly more than that. What you get with Michael Davis’ writing and direction is somewhat of a pastiche to action films of days gone by and that’s what makes this movie so fun; it takes everything you like about action films, holds up a mirror to them and reflects them ten times better. This is included in the action where there are some completely outrageous stunts and scenes that defy all laws of logic and common sense but do we care? No. Because we’re enjoying being taken on this wonderful journey and forgetting the troubles of real life for an hour and a half. One of the most enjoyable things about Shoot ‘Em Up is Clive Owen’s deadpan delivery of witty lines; almost every second line of dialogue for Owen’s character is a joke and it is beautifully delivered with a straight face but I tell you now the lines are hilarious. It’s a perfect action comedy.
Shoot ‘Em Up tries to deliver a complex storyline which makes a change from the usual terrorist or revenge plot: the baby that Smith ends up saving has actually been born with the purpose of providing a bone marrow transplant to a corrupt senator who will die without the transplant. The confrontation with the senator leads to a complete disregard to the laws of physics and a mid-air shootout takes place after jumping from a plane! And we are also given back stories of the main characters that, while good, aren’t really needed and don’t really add anything to the enjoyment of the film.
This action spectacular provides action scenes a plenty, it’s practically non stop! We get them in mid-air (as mentioned), in warehouses, in a children’s park and even a brothel. It seems like Shoot ‘Em Up was made to purely entertain and that’s exactly what it does. With acting talent in the form of Oscar nominees Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti as well as the talented Monica Belluci you know you’re getting more than just a standard direct-to-DVD release.
Shoot ‘Em Up didn’t perform well in the cinema but has garnered quite a passionate following in the years since its release and I for one suggest that if you like action, or if you like comedy, then just turn off your common sense switch and enjoy the fun that Shoot ‘Em Up brings!