Shoot 'Em Up

This wet dream for action junkies leaves out logic and motivation —you know, all the boring stuff. It's eighty-two minutes of hardcore pow. Clive Owen, relieved of saving the world a la Children of Men, is having a ball as Mr. Smith, a loner who'd kill you as fast with a carrot as with a gun. His mission, other than spewing one-liners and hitting on a hooker (megababe Monica Bellucci), is to save a baby from the clutches of gun-crazy Hertz (Paul Giamatti).

The shooting starts when the baby is born —a bullet cuts the umbilical cord —and doesn't stop. Writer-director Michael Davis seems to have washed down the collected works of John Woo and Sergio Leone with all the caffeine left at Starbucks. The dazzling and daffy result isn't really a movie at all, it's a live-action cartoon that feeds on its own momentum. The stunts, including a skydiving gunfight without benefit of parachutes, are stratospherically over-the-top. You'll be exhilarated —also exhausted. Davis injects an element of plot about a presidential candidate who survives on bone marrow harvested from infants. But it's hard to care. Owen and Giamatti, whose unlikely hit man pauses hilariously to phone his wife, are slumming and loving it. See Shoot 'Em Up for the affectionate sendup it is, and you won't be able to wipe the grin off your face.

From The Archives Issue 247: September 8, 1977
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