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SHOOT ‘EM UP (director/writer: Michael Davis; cinematographer: Peter Pau; editor: Peter Amundson; music: Paul Haslinger; cast: Clive Owen (Smith), Paul Giamatti (Hertz), Monica Bellucci (Donna Quintano), Stephen McHattie (Hammerson), Greg Bryk (Lone Man), Daniel Pilon (Senator Rutledge); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating R: R; producers: Susan Montford/Don Murphy/Rick Benattar; New Line Cinema; 2007)
“Witless misfire.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

I hated everything about this revolting spoof that thinks violence is such fun when it’s so cartoonish and over-the-top (it rips off the 1992 John Woo actioner Hard-Boiled and has its star cast as a seedy James Bond type). Writer-director Michael Davis, straight from several direct-to-video efforts, is responsible for this witless misfire. It poses as a guilty pleasure treat for those who think they are above the fray and can see the light through the dark spoof. All I saw was a dumb film that thinks torture and gunplay is the cat’s meow. This is a morbid comedy specially made for those who lost track of what’s funny and who can bask with delight in how low their taste can stoop It has its star, Clive Owen, be opposed to guns, but he spends the entire film gunning down what amounts to an army of baddies.

It opens with a bum dressed in a long leather coat named Mr. Smith (Clive Owen) sitting on a bench by a bus stop munching on a carrot as a screaming pregnant woman rushes past him as she’s being pursued by a man with a gun. The unarmed Smith comes to her aid by shoving his carrot through the guy’s mouth and then delivers the woman’s child by shooting the umbilical cord with the gun he retrieved from the dead assassin; and, while Smith was still delivering the baby, he shoots maybe a dozen other assassins who joined the chase. When the mother gets killed in the warehouse shoot-out, a protective Smith tucks the baby under his arm and escapes a snarling Hertz (Paul Giamatti), the jokester mean-spirited gang leader, and his band of hit men give chase with their .357 magnum firepower. Smith brings the baby to the prostitute, DQ (Monica Bellucci), and engages her to be his wet nurse for the baby they name Oliver. What follows is a bad trip down memory lane of so many retarded action pics from the past and a relentless barrage of absurd shootouts. There’s some kind of ridiculous and convoluted plot about a Senator Rutledge (Daniel Pilon), who is running for president on a gun control platform and scheming to harvest bone marrow, and who sells out his base as he secretly makes a deal with a ruthless firearms manufacturer (Stephen McHattie) to trade his vote for the life saving bone marrow. This is the kind of pic that doesn’t need a plot, just plenty of guns and ammo and charismatic stars mouthing inanities.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”