So we went to see Shoot ‘Em Up tonight.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation afterward:
[time passes] ME: Wow.
It’s amazing. All the reviews I’d seen were glowing. You’d’ve thought this was the best action movie since Bourne rather than the bastard offspring of Crank and The Matrix‘s gloriously extravagant gun battles.
It starts with Clive Owen sitting at a bus stop, munching a raw carrot (the first of many). He’s all alone, being broody, and then a pregnant woman runs past him, pursued by a thug with a gun (also the first of many). Naturally this leads to a delivery during a shootout — all before the credits.
Clive Owen ends up with the newborn, who’s in need of a meal. No problem! Clive just happens to be intimately acquainted with a lactating hooker. Off to Monica Bellucci’s budoir he goes, pursued by still more thugs with guns and by Paul Giamatti (being creepy and quippy), because you see, this baby was supposed to die, and no matter how thin the reasoning, dozens and dozens of men are coming after him.
What follows is honestly just too silly to relate. It involves a tank, an aerial gunfight (with a helicopter!), German shepherds both dead and alive, and a body count that puts the Bond movies to shame. There is a plot, but the writer evidently never heard the “Show, don’t tell” axiom, because everything between gunfights is just exposition. Clive Owen can arrive in a room full of bodies, sweep his gaze over it, and miraculously deduce what happened, who did it, and why. There’s no real excuse for this, except that the plot is entirely incidental to the movie.
What the movie is really about? Is carrots. And guns. Clive has a real thing for raw carrots; he’s snapping one off in every other scene. When he’s not eating them, he’s using them to pull triggers on guns that are just out of his reach. Guns, carrots, guns, and more guns. There’s an extended scene set in a gun factory, where there are almost as many guns on the wall as in people’s hands. The camera lingers as lovingly on the guns as it does on Monica Bellucci’s considerable assets, and the carrots are a close third.
The writer seems to be a fan of CSI; all the dramatic scenes end in a bad one-liner, although to Giamatti’s and Owen’s credit, they’re usually delivered with more relish than David Caruso can muster up in an average week. There’s some bullshit about an escape plan, and of course a gratuitous torture scene. The whole thing ends with a wacky homage to the diner scenes in Pulp Fiction, only sillier and more disgusting.
The end credits are really the best part of the whole movie. They’re a hilarious sendup of the Bond credits, with silhouettes getting shot, falling all over each other, and bleeding all over the screen. Or maybe it just seemed great compared to the movie we’d just seen; by then our brains had pretty much leaked out our ears.