If you’re reading this blog in general and the FLICK YOU! section in particular, I’d wager you’re more or less on my cinematic wavelength and are able to appreciate highbrow fare like SOPHIE’S CHOICE while getting your grindhouse on and merrily wallowing in flicks loaded to the gills with gore, monsters, titties, ass-whuppin’, rock ‘n’ roll, and plain old rampaging pandemonium. Moviegoers of our more or less open-minded ilk can readily enjoy a picture that has nothing on its mind other than wanting to entertain the living shit out of us, and to hell with any delusions of grandeur.
Which brings me to SHOOT ‘EM UP.
When this flick came out a few months back, I’d heard from several people who’d seen it that it was offensive in its “irresponsible” violence and almost total lack of a plot, and that assessment intrigued me for two reasons:
1. Irresponsible violence and an almost total lack of plot are two elements that can sometimes spell an entertaining viewing experience for an action movie junkie.
2. The people who told me they hated it are folks that in no uncertain terms I consider to be complete and utter douchebags across the board, and a film that smacks of anything less than tony aspirations is anathema to their snooty sensibilities.
With those points taken into consideration I finally got around to checking out SHOOT ‘EM UP for myself, and was very pleasantly surprised by its simplicity and Jack-Russell-Terrier-on-Benzedrine action.
What passes as a plot involves a mysterious carrot-eating badass named Smith (my man Clive Owen) who steps in when he sees an extremely pregnant woman being pursued by a horde of heavily armed nasties in black couture (their look is kind of mid-eighties tacky, as opposed to our hero’s stylish leather trench coat). Coming to her rescue, carrot-guy proves to be a marksman of such talent that it’d make both Chow Yun-Fat and John Woo put on frilly dresses and shriek “Jesus H. Christ!!!,” plus he’s such a mensch that he even delivers the woman’s baby in the middle of a hellacious firefight. Sadly, the mother catches a stray bullet in the cranium, so our hero makes off with the newborn baby boy, having zero clue as to why the bad guys wanted the mother dead in the first place or why their sights are now set on a kid who’s been out of the womb for about three minutes. Enlisting the aid of lactating dominatrix “D.Q.” (Eye-talian deity who walks the earth among us mere mortals, Monica Bellucci) as a wet nurse, Smith embarks on an odyssey of mayhem with uber-asshole villain Paul Giamatti hot on his heels. As bullets fly all over the place and CGI blood bukkakes the camera’s lens, there remains one simple question: exactly why the fuck is all this going on? The answers to that question work strictly on a comic book level, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun getting to them.
SHOOT ‘EM UP is basically a live-action cartoon played with a completely straight face, and if you approach it with that in mind you’ll probably find it to be a hoot. Owen rocks as an improbable badass, Bellucci reigns as a literal Madonna/whore (my god, those big brown eyes!), Giamatti chews the scenery with shameless gusto, and the whole thing was just so over-the-top that I had to giggle along with the feature-length joke. In fact, there were a couple of moments when I actually exclaimed “Oh, gimme a fucking break!” while laughing my ass off, so TRUST YER BUNCHE and check this one out.