Plot: Mr. Smith (Clive Owen) ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time. He ends up trying to protect a newborn baby from a determined criminal (Paul Giamatti). Luckily, Smith is the best of the best, and he has some help from a prostitute (Monica Belluci). Who’s it for: Fans of over-the-top, insane, mindless violence which never really delivers many laughs.
Expectations: I had very high hopes for this film. I love a good shoot ’em up type movie, and it seems that “Shoot’em Up” should fit that genre. And on top of that, there was finally some top-notch actors attached to a project like this. I was pumped.
Clive Owen as Mr. Smith: I really thought he would be perfect as a no-nonsense killer, protecting a baby. I was wrong. There just wasn’t anything exciting about Owen delivering lines about carrots (you know, because he eats carrots). Grade: 4
Paul Giamati as Mr. Hertz: A smart man doesn’t answer his cell phone while trying to kill someone, but that doesn’t stop the repulsive Mr. Hertz. He’s supposed to be clever, always knowing the next move, but it comes off more like the screenwriter just got stuck instead of Mr. Hertz being a genius. Grade: 2
Monica Belluci as DQ: What’s worse … having talent and not using it? Or proving you have no talent? I’m going to go with the later. Belluci has no range in this role as a prostitute who is lactating. Yup, you read correctly. Grade: 1
Talking: I’m trying to figure out if I would have liked the movie more if it was a silent film. The fact that I can even contemplate this should give you an accurate idea that I wasn’t impressed with the one-liners that followed every action sequence. Grade: 2
Sights and sounds: The style lost out to the substance. Even though “Shoot’em Up” offers a multitude of new ways to kill, eventually it didn’t matter how Smith set up guns with rope, shot through the top of a sun-roof or the thumping music. And the fake baby used was insanely obvious and creepy looking. Grade: 3
Best Scene: The opening scene had me with Owen chopping on a carrot and annoyed to be dragged into the situation of saving the baby. Quickly, I joined his annoyance.
Ending: Survival is the name of the game and everyone important survives (I’m talking about you and me). Don’t worry, there are other movies out there to help erase this experience.
Random Thoughts: It’s clear that Smith is great at killing people, but ONE BULLET is all that hits him? I felt sorry for all the idiots that got killed by Smith. Eventually, I wanted the chance to take a shot since no one else could come close.
Rewatchability: “The Transporter” became a movie that was so bad it was good, and I’ll easily sit through it again. I just can’t imagine “Shoot’em Up” getting to that level for me. OVERALL
It starts with a bang, not wasting any time to throw you into the action. But the problems start to come with painfully uncool one-liners, a flat performance from Clive Owen, a disgusting job by Paul Giamatti and a plot that reveals itself to be idiotic when a presidential candidate comes into the picture. I’m a huge fan of ultra violence done right (“Sin City” and “Fight Club”) but this felt more like a videogame with the “invincible” level turned on. Perhaps “Shoot’em Up” is just violence for violence’s sake, but this is one film that needs to be put out of its misery. And clearly the only way to do that is with a really big gun.
Overall Grade: 2