Revisited: Shoot ‘Em Up

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Smith (Clive Owen), a drifter at a bus stop, sees a pregnant woman fleeing a hitman. Following them into a warehouse, Smith murders the hitman with a carrot and saves the woman. As more thugs arrive, Smith is forced to deliver the woman’s baby (later named Oliver) during a firefight. Pursued by head assassin, Karl Hertz (Paul Giamatti), the woman is soon shot and killed, forcing Smith to narrowly escape with Oliver.

Leaving the baby in a park, Smith hopes someone will adopt the child, only for a passing woman to be killed by Hertz. Realizing Hertz is trying to kill Oliver, Smith saves him, and attempts to leave him with a lactating prostitute named Donna (Monica Bellucci); despite his pleas, she refuses. Hertz arrives at the brothel shortly after and tortures Donna for information, only for Smith to return and kill Hertz’s henchmen.

Taking Donna to his hideout, Smith realizes that Oliver stops crying when he hears heavy metal music, leading him to conclude his mother lived near a heavy metal club. Followed by Hertz, Smith is then forced to shoot his way out of his hideout, before he and Donna head to a nearby club. Heading above the club, they discover an apartment containing medical equipment and two dead pregnant women; Smith concludes the women were all impregnated with a specific man’s sperm so they could birth matching bone marrow donors.

Hiding in a motel room, Smith and Donna are attacked by masked men during sex, forcing Smith to kill them while supporting Donna (apparenbtly without her even being aware of the gunplay). Discovering his assailants’ weapons are all “Hammerson” models unavailable to the public, Smith takes Donna and Oliver to a war museum, and hides them in a M24 Chaffee armored tank. Infiltrating the Hammerson factory, Smith witnesses Hertz and Hammerson in conversation about how they do not want the Second Amendment repealed by the next President, and notices Hammerson owns a German Shepherd called Dutchess. Smith booby-traps the entire facility, allowing him to kill his assailants and escape.

Smith soon notices an article on Senator Harry Rutledge (Daniel Pilon), a presidential candidate campaigning for stricter gun laws. Smith deduces Rutledge has cancer and requires a bone marrow transplant, which is why he had surrogates impregnated with his sperm, and why Hertz and Hammerson want Oliver dead; should the infants die, the Senator will not receive a donation and will be unfit to run as President. Smith tells Donna to leave town, before Smith contacts one of Rutledge’s henchmen to request an appointment. Meeting aboard a plane, the Senator confirms Smith’s suspicions, only for Smith to notice dog hair on his trousers.

Discerning the hair belongs to Dutchess, and that the Senator struck a deal with Hammerson, Smith takes Rutledge hostage, only for Hertz and Hammerson to appear. Escaping from Hertz, Smith kills the Senator and leaps from aircraft with a parachute. Killing several pursuing henchmen, Smith is shot and, after safely landing, soon collapses due to his injuries. Awakening in Hammerson’s mansion, Hertz tortures Smith, breaking his fingers to learn where he sent Donna and Oliver. As Hertz prepares to cut Smith’s eyes, Smith manages to break free and kill several thugs. As Smith and Hertz both grab pistols and struggle kill each other, Smith manages to fire first and shoot Hertz. Cornered and stuggling to use his gun, Smith places live rounds between his broken fingers and, by detonating them using a fireplace, shoots and critically wounds Hertz.

Boarding a bus with Dutchess, Smith soon stops at an ice-cream parlor, only to find Donna working as a waitress while watching Oliver. The film ends as a group of amateur robbers enter the parlor; his hands in bandages, Smith shoots them by using a carrot to pull the trigger.


Let’s get one thing straight from the get go. I love, Love, LOVE Shoot ‘Em Up! This is the kind of mindless, action-packed flick that I need after a hard day or week at work. Contrary to what some out there, may believe, not every film needs to be dark, serious, and pandering to the Academy. Sometimes it is good to just have a flick that is for the audience, you know the people who actually pay to go see these film, rather than get in free.

What is this about?

When a mysterious loner named Mr. Smith delivers a woman’s baby during an intense shoot-out, he inadvertently runs afoul of the ruthless Mr. Hertz. Now, aided by the enigmatic DQ, Smith must shield the newborn from Hertz and his henchmen.

What did I like?

Fingered. I know little to nothing about guns, but I was impressed with the thumbprint safety that was on the guns that the bad guys were using. In this day and age when people can shoot an innocent kid for walking down the street or texting in the theater, it surely won’t be long before murders are done in that fashion. With guns like these, they can be traced back to the owner, since only their fingerprint can shoot them.

Carrots. Vegetables aren’t my thing, normally. I eat them because I have to, not because I like them, with a few exceptions. The first time I saw this film, as if there were subliminal messages in the film, I went to the store and bought a bunch of carrots. This time around, I already had some and just had a few while I was watching. This is not the kind of flick you should be showing you kids, but if it was, you’d have something that might get kids to eat their vegetables!

Visual. A good majority of this film takes place in the slum part of the city. I think I saw one of the license plates say that it was New Jersey, which would explain so much, but I digress. What is a feast for the eyes, though, not counting the goddess that is Monica Bellucci, would be the stunts. Everything from shooting the merry-go-round to keep it going, killing people with carrots, and an impressive sex scene where Clive Owen doesn’t lose a beat as he is shooting the enemies and having sex with Bellucci, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What didn’t I like?

Party pooper. I was having fun with the film until the momentum was halted and it tried to actually have a plot. For me, that was the biggest mistake of this film. As the title implies, this is mostly shooting. What good is it to throw in some serious spy-type stuff that you would expect from a James Bond movie.

Lactose intolerant. Monica Bellucci is one of the most beautiful women in the world and, despite the roles she gets in her Hollywood films, is quite the talent. So, why is it that they reduce her to the role of a lactating hooker? When they finally let her do something, she is pushed to the side. Granted, I don’t believe I would have wanted to see her being tortured by Paul Giamatti in the way the Clive Owen was, but I would have liked something more than for her to have been reduced to nothing more than a mother…the mother of a child that isn’t hers, for that matter.

You know what I hate? Every chance he gets, Clive Owen’s character is making a point to say “You know what I hate?”, which is followed by a diatribe on the thing that is hates. At first, this is a quirky thing, but as the film progresses it just becomes a bit of an annoyance, leaving one to wonder why they kept beating a dead horse. Yes, it helps us relate to a mysterious character and can be construed as a bit of comic relief, but for me it was just unnecessary.

As I said in my opening, Shoot ‘Em Up is a film that you need to turn your brain off to enjoy. If you watch this and try to be cerebral about it, your head is sure to explode. This is a film that has boobs, babes, and guns. If that doesn’t scream guy movie, then I don’t what does. That being said, this isn’t for everyone. It is highly violent, there are torture scenes, and it is said that there is a gun control agenda here, much as Machete has an immigration agenda. Do I recommend this? Yes, enthusiastically yes! This is a film you just have to see to believe, so check it out!

5 out of 5 stars


2 Responses to “Revisited: Shoot ‘Em Up”

  1. […] and dignity that is the overall tone for the film. In truth this is no less or more violent than Shoot ‘Em Up (give or take a couple of killings) when all is said and done. You be the judge on whether that is a […]

  2. […] the spirit of movies like Shoot ‘Em Up, The Transporter, and maybe even Crank, Everly delivers on the action, while not shying away from […]

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