Sometimes, you just need your action movies to be completely over the top in their violence. Aside from the mass star power, I am pretty sure that is one of the reasons that The Expendables franchise has been so successful. Years before those movies came out, we had another dose of over the top violence in the form of today’s movie. Now I remember seeing the trailers for this movie when it came out and thought it looked fun but never went to see it. After it came out on video, a friend of mine brought it over one night when a bunch of us were hanging out watching movies and we watched it. I thought it was absolutely hilarious and immediately went and got my own copy of it. So let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Shoot ‘Em Up.
The plot: A man named Smith is sitting at a bus stop eating a carrot when he sees a pregnant woman walk past, showing signs of having contractions. When a man chases after the woman, she ducks into a warehouse and the man stares at Smith before pulling out a gun and following after her, prompting Smith to follow them. Inside the warehouse, the woman tries to shoot the man but misses and as he approaches her with a knife, Smith grabs him and uses his carrot to kill him. When some more men appear, Smith grabs the dead man’s gun and begins shooting them, telling the woman to get out of there. After killing several of the men, Smith is forced to help deliver the baby in the midst of the continued gunfight. As the leader of the men, Hertz, arrives, Smith grabs his gun and asks why they are after the woman but Hertz doesn’t answer and instead, tells Smith that the gun won’t work unless his thumbprint unlocks it. As more men arrive, Smith hits Hertz with the gun, then grabs the woman and leaves but as they make their way up the stairs, he realizes that the woman has been shot in the head. Smith starts to leave but has a change of heart and grabs the baby, then heads up to the roof. Once there, he grabs a gun from a man that followed him and uses it to shoot out the neon lights on the sign above the other men before jumping across the roof tops and making his escape. As he is walking along the streets, he notices someone watching him so he ducks into a bus terminal and hides in the restroom. As he tends to the baby, he drops the gun in the toilet and quickly strips and dries it just as the man arrives and tells him to give him the baby. Smith tries to shoot him but the gun still isn’t dry enough so he ducks under the stalls and turns out the lights, then struggles with the man before using the hand dryer to finish drying off his gun and after getting the upper hand on the man, he leaves. Smith heads to a park and leaves the baby on a carousel for someone to pick up but when a woman gets shot as she approaches the baby, he sees Hertz aiming a sniper rifle at the baby. Smith shoots the carousel, causing it to spin around, messing up Hertz’s shop and he grabs the baby and manages to escape. Smith heads to a brothel and goes to see Donna Quintano, a hooker who specializes in lactation fetishes, and offers her $5000 to take care of the baby for a while but she refuses. Meanwhile, Hertz figures out that the baby will need some food and tells his men to look for wet nurses or any such option Smith might go to. Hertz ends up at Quintano’s room and questions her about Smith, repeatedly firing his gun and pressing the heated barrel against her skin as a form of torture. Just before he can seriously burn her, Smith appears and throws Hertz out of the room, then uses a severed hand on the gun he stole so he can shoot Hertz. Knowing more people will be coming, Smith has come with him and as they are walking along the street, Smith sees someone park in a handicap spot without a sticker and steals their car. Smith heads to a pawnshop and attempts to buy some guns and ammo, signing over a check from the blood bank to cover some of the costs, while Quintano turns a quick trick in order to buy a bullet proof vest for the baby. Heading to the church Smith has been squatting in, Smith decides to call the baby Oliver, after Oliver Twist, but he and Quintano continue to argue about what to do. Meanwhile, Hertz had been wearing a bulletproof vest and after recovering, manages to track down Smith to the church and have some new men meet him there so they can kill Smith. Upstairs, Smith is flipping channels on the TV and realizes that Oliver stops crying when he hears heavy metal music. Suddenly, the men break into the room and start attacking them and Smith has Quintano use the old dumb waiter to escape downstairs, while he kills the attackers and manages to make it downstairs with Oliver. As Hertz uses a dog to track them, Quintano tells Smith to shoot it but he refuses, saying he likes dogs, and instead uses his pet rat and Oliver’s diaper to lure the dog away from them. Following his hunch about the music, Smith heads to a heavy metal club that is near where he first saw the pregnant woman and sees several empty diaper boxes outside. After Quintano tortures the manager, he leads them to the upstairs area and unlocks it for them and Smith and Quintano see several dead guards and two other dead pregnant women, as well as one man who is reporting in on the scene. As they look around, they discover that someone was setting up a baby farm to harvest bone marrow and Smith kills another guard so they can escape. Hiding out in a hotel, Smith tells Quintano that he called all the news channels and newspapers, as well as the FBI, and that once the story goes public, they should be safe. Quintano is still upset with Smith about having her care for Oliver, as her own child had been delivered still-born. Smith and Quintano end up having sex when some men show up to kill them but Smith, without manages to kill them all while continuing to have sex. As they are getting dressed, Smith notices that the men have Hammerson guns that are not available on the market yet. Smith has Quintano and Oliver hide in a tank at a museum and goes to investigate Hammerson. Inside the factory, he sees Hertz talking with Hammerson and Hertz reveals that he knows who Smith is. When Hammerson and Hertz, along with Hammerson’s men, realize that Smith is there and try attacking him but Smith had rigged some weapons on trip wires and uses them to kill all of the men and make his escape. Heading back to the tank, Smith tells Quintano what he learned and as Quintano is changing Oliver’s diaper, he sees the photo of Senator Rutledge and realizes that he is the one that needs Oliver’s bone marrow. Smith comes up with a plan to get Quintano out of town, telling her not to tell him where she gets off in case things go bad. Smith then fools Hertz and his men into chasing after him with a decoy baby, giving Quintano time to get Oliver and leave town. Smith then calls Rutledge’s security detail and arranges to meet with Rutledge as he flies to North Carolina. On the plane, Smith and Rutledge are talking but Smith notices the dog hairs on Rutledge’s pants and realizes that he had meet with Hammerson, as he recognizes the dog hairs as belonging to Hammerson’s German Shepherd Duchess. Smith grabs one of the secret service’s guns and holds Rutledge office as Hammerson and Hertz and tell him that Rutledge made a deal with them in order to save his life. Smith takes Rutledge to the lower portion of the plane and ties him to the ladder, then shoots him, figuring that Rutledge’s assassination would help get his bills to pass by a sympathy vote. Smith then jumps out of the plane but he is followed by several secret service agents, who attempt to kill him in mid-air. Smith manages to kill them all, but is shot in the arm in the process, and after landing safely, he heads to an empty building to rest only to wake up to fins Hertz pointing a gun at him. Hertz takes him to Hammerson’s home and proceeds to torture Smith by breaking the fingers in his right hand but Smith refuses to tell him where Quintano and Oliver are. As Hertz prepares to use more extreme methods of torture, Smith manages to get free and kills Hertz’s men and then manages to overpower Hammerson and have him shoot himself. When Hertz approaches him, Smith attempts to shoot him but his mangled hand causes him to miss. Smith retreats to another room and Hertz finds him leaning next to the fireplace and as he gets closer, he sees that Smith had placed the bullets from his gun in between the fingers of his left hand, which he sticks in the fire in order to ignite them and shoot Hertz. Smith goes to leave but Hertz stands up to try and stop him and they both raise their guns but Smith manages to shoot Hertz and finally kill him. Smith leaves Hammerson’s house, accompanied by Duchess, and heads to the bus stop that Quintona used to get out of town. Riding the Green Bus, Smith and Duchess get off at one of the stops and head to a Dream Queen ice cream shop to get some food. While there, Smith sees that Quintona works there and the two embrace and kiss. Suddenly, three armed men burst in and attempt to rob the place but Smith grabs one of their guns and, using a carrot to pull the trigger, manages to stop them as Quintona continues to hold him.
Shoot ‘Em Up received mixed to positive reviews from the critics, holding a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “As preposterous and over-the-top as Shoot ‘Em Up may be, its humor and non-stop action make for a very enjoyable film.” The first gun Smith uses in the film is a Walther PPK and when it jams on him, he calls it a piece of crap, which is a subtle dig on the fact that Clive Owen had been considered for the role of James Bond but was passed over in favor of Daniel Craig. The movie did not fare well in theaters, earning $26.8 million off of a $39 million budget.
This is such a ridiculously funny movie. The acting was good, with Clive Owen (Smith) and Paul Giamatti (Hertz) doing a good job playing off of each other, while Clive Owen also had some great chemistry with Monica Bellucci (Quintano). The story was pretty intriguing, with the slight mystery surrounding Oliver making a good focal point for the all of the violence that occurred. The special effects involving the gun fights were really over the top, which made for a lot of entertainment and laughs throughout the movie, such as Smith shooting out the letters in the sign to spell “FUK U”, and as Hertz stares at Smith across the rooftop, he shoots out the “L” in TOOL, so that the sign now then reads “FUK U TOO”. A lot of crazy action that is a blast to watch.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5