Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)

Carrots are very good for your eyesight.

Carrots are very good for your eyesight.

This summer, so far, barring Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, was one of some pretty lackluster action movies for me. With that in mind, I went back to 2007’s Shoot ‘Em Up.

Shoot ‘Em Up follows a dude called Smith (Clive Owen) as he bears witness to a pregnant woman being chased by gunmen one night. It’s clear that somebody wants the baby dead. Smith then joins forces with prostitute Donna Quintano (Monica Bellucci) to keep Hertz (Paul Giamatti) off the baby’s back.

From the movie’s title, you can gather that this movie very much is gun porn. Almost every one of the movie’s 86 minutes is an action scene of some sort. Shoot ‘Em Up even managed to turn a sex scene into an action scene. Despite that, Shoot ‘Em Up is far from your average mindless action movie.

Shoot ‘Em Up took every action movie cliche, combined them with extremely stylish action sequences, and absolutely embraced every single quality that would by all logic make it the worst movie ever made. Beneath the movie’s surface is actually a very carefully constructed plot. If you ignored the flying bullets for a second and thought about it, you would realize the writers actually went the extra nine yards to actually tie every loose end up and develop the characters, and thus actually make a good story. Even Smith, whom the writers kept a mystery, was a complete character.

I wouldn’t characterize Shoot ‘Em Up to be a parody per se. In fact, I’m not really sure the people who made it were really attempting to make a good movie. What is clear, however, is that the creators saw the direction action movies were going in general and made this to lampoon the very idea of the modern generic blockbuster action film.

Unfortunately, most viewers simply did not get the joke Shoot ‘Em Up was going for as it absolutely flopped at the box office. It is an intentional (unlike Alpha Girls) action comedy where you actually need to give some thought to really appreciate it. For that reason, I recommend with every ounce of my being that people at least give this movie a rent. Unlike Precious, a bad movie pretending to be a good one, Shoot ‘Em Up is a good movie pretending to be a bad one.

Score: 4/4

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