Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lock n Load: Shoot Em Up

Clive Owen in Shoot 'Em Up
Full disclosure: This may be one of the dumbest movies I have ever seen. The plot was so outrageous that at first glance I'm actually surprised that someone green-lit this. The filmmakers choose to completely disregard reality, common sense, and psychics and it was awesome. Watching this film ranks as one of my best cinematic experiences in my entire life.

Shoot Em Up make no promises that you're going to get anything other than what you got in the trailer. What kind of film do you expect it to be when you show a scene in the trailer with a character using food stamps to buy bullets?

A few stats before I get too far into this review:
Gallons of fake blood used in production: 15
Total of guns used by Mr. Smith: 18
Body Count: 106

Clive Owen stars as "Smith", a man who happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time - and is thrust into a huge convoluted government conspiracy of epic proportions. Paul Giamatti appears in this film, delivering one of the hammiest performances I have ever seen an actor give, all with a completely straight face. He is Elmer Fudd to Clive Owen's Smith, so much so that Owen's character eats carrots throughout the movie and makes reference to Bug's often spoken line, "What's up Doc?" and Giamatti's character has a "Kill the wabbit" ring-tone (from Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries").

I'd place this in the same category as the Crank films. Films like Shoot 'Em Up and Crank are designed to be over-the-top. The are movies that know what they're doing and are made by people that understand not only the genre, but tongue-in-cheek humor. You could contrast a movie such as this with any Jason Friedberg/Aaron Seltzer abomination "Spoof Movie" that not only does not understand the concepts it is poking fun of, but doesn't even seem to comprehend much of anything. This movie gets it. The film even has a "Fresh" rating of 66% on Rotten Tomatoes, a score derived from over 150 reviews. They get it.

The film has also dropped all the pretentiousness that comes with a typical Michael Bay film. No stupid slow-mo shots with bombastic music blowing out anyone's eardrums here. Hot Fuzz was able to take the concept in the other direction, playing up the ridiculousness of films like Bad Boys successfully, by becoming one. Shoot Em Up transcends.

Warehouse fight, check. Hand-to-hand fight in bathroom, check. But there is perhaps one of the most exciting and unique action sequences I have seen in a film towards the end of the movie. Let's just say that it takes place between an airplane and the ground. The green-screen isn't exactly convincing, but the scene is set to AC/DC's "If You Want Blood" and I certainly can't help but smile the entire way through it. Physics and air resistance be damned!

I never saw this film in the theaters, but after seeing it, I wish I had.

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