Shoot 'Em Up

Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)
"Guns don't kill people. But they sure help!"

From the moment I first heard about Shoot ‘Em Up I was excited about seeing it—based, I suspect, purely on the title alone. And yet when I first saw the DVD sitting on a shelf (in Sanity, I believe) I hesitated. I always find myself feeling a little disappointed if a movie weighs in with a running time of less than 90 minutes—not, perhaps, the best or most logical criteria for pre-judging a movie, but I can’t seem to shake it off! Shoot ‘Em Up, of course, runs for a mere 83 minutes. So I put it back on the shelf, and I managed to convince myself that it would be rather less than I had hoped for.

I suspect this attitude was fuelled by having only recently watched Crank, with Jason Statham. After all, what little I had seen of Shoot ‘Em Up suggested it was attempting to ride on the coat-tails of Crank—and while that movie had been entertaining enough, some of its stylistic choices had left me a little cold. And if I wasn’t wildly enthusiastic about a Jason Statham movie—me being a big fan of some of his other movies—why should I waste my time on some cheap knock-off with this Clive Owen dude?

On the other hand, of course, it does have an awesome title!

I finally picked up the DVD this morning. I watched it this afternoon. I can safely say that I haven’t had that much fun with a movie in quite some time! I laughed through much of it—which should not be construed to suggest that it is a comedy. It is simply 83 minutes of pure, outrageous fun. The action was completely unbelievable—as outrageous as Jason Statham at his best, certainly—but that hardly mattered. If you watched a movie such as this with a cynical eye towards believability, you wouldn’t get past the first carrot-induced death. If, however, you chuckled in mild disbelief that they would choose to open an action movie by killing somebody with a carrot—and turned a blind eye to the continuity glitch therein—you’d probably be in the right frame of mind to have a damned enjoyable 83 minutes!

The cast play their parts with the appropriate level of seriousness. They don’t play for laughs, but you can’t not laugh with sheer exuberance at the action.

Or hey, maybe that was just me…

The cast. There was an interesting mix. Clive Owen as the laconic, casual hero—yeah, that works. I first became aware of him from his role in Inside Man (which is well worth watching!) and Children of Men, but he was also in such movies as Sin City, Beyond Borders (which I really must watch sometime soon (Edit: I’ve seen it now. It’s brilliant!)) and, of course, King Arthur. Despite my comments earlier, I am actually quite a fan of Clive Owen from what little I’ve seen of him.

Then there was Monica Bellucci as the, uh, “hooker with a heart of gold”. My first real exposure to Monica was her role in the second Matrix movie—and she certainly has no trouble playing strongly sexual women. She plays similar roles in Brotherhood of the Wolf and Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra.

The surprise, though, was Paul Giamatti as the villain of the piece. Much as I loved his work in Lady in the Water, I hadn’t seen anything to suggest him for such a role. (Admittedly, I haven’t seen much of his other work at all.) It worked, though, and his character is wonderful.

All the characterisations seemed to work well. Plenty of mystery, just the right touch of humanity…

Definitely worth seeing!

IMDB: Shoot ‘Em Up

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