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Movie Review: Shoot ‘Em Up

Shoot ‘Em Up
Written and directed by Michael Davis
New Line Cinema

I really enjoy movies that deliver a trailer promising mindless action, give you a title as simple as Shoot ‘Em Up, and then deliver on their nuttiness.  Last year’s Crank, released around the same time last year, did the same thing.  Because there is no aspiration to Shoot ‘Em Up other than what its title offers, the bar is low and it easily jumps over it with some action scenes and humor that will get a full auditorium abuzz.

In this movie, an easily-irritated antihero simply known as Smith (Clive Owen, another of my favorites) is minding his own business when a pregnant woman comes running by him, fleeing from some gun-toting bad guy.  Before long, Smith is delivering a baby while mowing down bad guys, especially with a signature move of sliding across the floor for way longer than any average man could.  He runs into the main baddie, Hertz (Paul Giamatti), and eventually escapes with the baby.

Smith finds world-class hooker Donna Quintano (Monica Bellucci, who is always super-hot) to help him take care of the baby while Giamatti and his goons keep tracking him down for more bloody mayhem and impossible action choreography.  Some sort of plot emerges: something to do with a bone marrow transplant and a politician.

And yes, this sounds just a tad bit like this year’s earlier Smokin’ Aces, which got distracted from its intended goal and ended up being way more of a mess than just mindless entertainment.  Shoot ‘Em Up is the kind of movie that has lots of cheesy one-liners and bizarre detective work: Both Hertz and Smith go beyond leaps of logic to figure out things they need to know, like when Smith figures that the baby’s mother must have lived next to a place with heavy metal music because it soothes him, and then finding the place right off the bat.

And this is totally all right with me.  It’s the kind of goofy, crazy stuff I crave in these kinds of flicks.  I don’t want anything to be remotely serious, bogging the action down.  This character could easily have more adventures; Smith is a suaver, less psychotic Michael Douglas in Falling Down, a movie that fell off when it wasn’t about Douglas being angry about the irritating things in life and doing something about it.  This is a short thrill ride and you should definitely go see it.

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