Movie Review: Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)

Sometimes movies look so much better on paper and storyboards rather than on an actual reel of film. Such is the case with Shoot ‘Em Up. It is every writer’s wet dream, a movie light on plot, dialogue and substance; heavy on nonstop action, including incredible gun and knife fights, car chases, aerial battles and scenes of excruciating pain (also known as torture). I can only imagine the smile on the face of writer/director Michael Davis as he penned this. I can also imagine the frowns of everyone during post production when they saw the final product.

Clive Owen is Mr. Smith, a guy very similar in nature to his previous role of Dwight McCarthy in Sin City. He’s a loner with a shitload of guns and the keen ability to use them, and he has a soft spot in his heart for prostitutes (don’t we all?). It’s a good thing too because he’s got himself and his hooker girlfriend Donna (Monica Bellucci) in a middle of a very bad situation. By saving a newborn baby (named Oliver) from execution, they’re now the number one enemy of Hertz (Paul Giamatti), a middle manager hustler-type with visions and talk of grandeur. Wave after wave of his henchmen hunt them until finally, Smith decides to bring the war to their doorstep, at which time what was already seen as over-the-top action, is taken 15 notches higher.

And that is what makes Shoot ‘Em Up a fun movie to watch. The action is simply a sight to see. I don’t recall seeing such outrageous gun fights and action scenes put to film before. The closest I’ve seen to this level was in the 2006 flick Crank. Any scene that could have a gun discharging or have blood being spilled, does. That includes sex scenes, sky diving scenes and a scene at a seemingly serene playground. There are no preconceived notions that there is an actual story to tell – it is all about balls-to-the-wall energy.

But alas, that is also the failure of the movie. There is no real story to tell. Instead of a movie with a plot interlaced with action sequences and moments of high intensity, Shoot ‘Em Up mixes in moments of drama and story to break up the excessiveness of the film. Unto itself it is an interesting concept, but those moments of plot spinning are gratingly painful to watch. Clive Owen does a terrible job carrying the weight of this film. His delivery is forced and artificial. His cocky, witty one liners flat-line the moment they escape his lips. Paul Giamatti is so annoying that I was praying for his death. As for Monica Bellucci, she looks rotten. Her close-ups reveal blotches and anomalies I’d rather have not seen. And since when did she decide to not get naked for her art? She’s certainly not an accomplished enough actress to not be exploited in films like this.

The only way I can recommend this movie to you to watch, would be if you told me that you were in the mood to be mindlessly entertained by a violent movie that does not, in any way shape or form, pretend to be a good movie. If, on the other hand, you’re even remotely looking for a film that makes sense on some level (no matter how miniscule it is), Shoot ‘Em Up is not for you.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
2 Star Rating: Bad


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Movie Review: Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)

The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.

'Movie Review: Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)' have 14 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 10, 2007 @ 4:19 pm Word Hugger

    Yeah, that about summed it up. I thought the randomness of the movie was what made it funny. Two carrot fatalities? I mean what the heck lol.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 10, 2007 @ 4:59 pm action-fan

    I think you’ve taken the movie too seriously, it was meant to be a crazy thrill ride. Clive Owen behaved exactly as he should have-completely unfazed by the insanity occurring around him. Monica Bellucci wasn’t supposed to be beautiful-she was a dirty whore working in a run down brothel. Hollywood needs to make more films like this.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 11, 2007 @ 3:17 pm seth

    I had no intentions of seeing this movie. Your review solidifies my stance. Thanks.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 14, 2007 @ 5:59 am mobile dating

    Clive Owen and Monica Bellucci…it can’t be that bad
    I must see it… Thanks

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 15, 2007 @ 12:48 am James

    One of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Crappy action scenes, crappy jokes, crappy story, crappy acting. Not fun, not a thrill ride, not funny, not entertaining, not worth the money. I feel totally ripped off! It failed in every possible way, IMHO.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 9, 2007 @ 3:43 pm blugi

    I didn’t find it that bad after all. But I saw better movies too :D

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 6, 2007 @ 1:31 pm Atomic Popcorn

    Loved Crank and its action so I may have to add this to Netflix queue

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 14, 2007 @ 11:37 pm Sirius Lee

    If you’re willing to suspend disbelief for the duration of the movie and imagine that you’ve just been transported to a universe where “death by carrot” is a possibility, then this movie’s for you. Never thought a flick with all action and no storyline would ever work, “Shoot ‘Em Up” proved me wrong.

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 25, 2007 @ 5:17 am Bruxism

    I just saw this movie last night but I had a mixed feeling between the poor acting of Monica Belluci, the stupid scenario and the funny scenes with Owen. I am not a movie critic but I wouldn’t spend another 2 hours to watch this movie again.

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 13, 2008 @ 8:21 pm monty

    I have to admit when i first saw this movie i was a bit taken back. It was not the best action flick i had ever seen. But, you are right the gun fight scenes were just outrageous enough to be entertaining, in a testosterone sort of way. although I was not cerebraly challenged by the film, i did walk out feeling satisfied for the money I spent.

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 20, 2009 @ 2:39 pm Beau

    i did not think the plot was very good in this movie. A bit disappointed. But, it kept me entertained for an hour or so. Unlike some other movies i have seen.

  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    April 16, 2009 @ 4:11 am Teeth grind

    I remember this film was really not for me! I do need a film to make “sense on some level”.

  13. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 15, 2010 @ 11:23 am teeth grind

    I didn’t like this one at all. What is it with Clive Owen and these good for hire movies. Can’t he get roles in normal movies.

  14. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 8, 2011 @ 12:37 pm San Francisco Lawyer

    I personally couldn’t get through it even though I love Clive Owen, and think he’s definitely underrated. He was incredible in “Children of Men”, though it was hard not to love that movie with it’s incredible scrip and direction. Shoot Em Up is definitely a movie made for 13 year old boys, and definitely agree with your “don’t bother” review for this one.

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