In 1995, director Robert Rodriquez took $7 million and made one of the year’s most enjoyable films in the over-the-top story of a guitar-toting mariachi assassin in “Desperado.” Writer/director Michael Davis has taken Rodriquez’s approach and dramatically raised the ante in the thoroughly enjoyable adventure, “Shoot ‘Em Up.”
The film opens with Mr. Smith (Clive Owen) chillin’ at a bus stop, waiting on his ride, eating a carrot and minding his business. Out of nowhere a pregnant woman comes hobbling down the street almost ready to give birth while being hotly pursued by a mysterious man toting a gun. He initially wants no part of the action, but something inside of him compels him to act and boy does he! His departure from the bench is the signal that the audience needs to strap themselves in for one of the year’s most enjoyable adventures.
Unable to save the mother, Smith protects the baby from a group of assassins led by the diabolically evil, Hertz (Paul Giamatti). A genius at solving equations and assessing situations, he stays one step behind Smith throughout the entire movie, only stopping to take calls from his wife on his cell during some of the film’s most awkward circumstances.
Smith recruits a prostitute, Donna (Monica Bellucci) to help him “nurse” the newborn. Her “nursing skills” gives the slogan, “Got Milk” a whole new meaning.
Not interested in a deep plot, “Shoot ‘Em Up” is bullet-laden ballet with each stunt topping the previous one. In one of the film’s most outrageous scenes, Smith drives his car headfirst into a truck which propels him through the other car’s windshield straight through the vehicle to the rear where he disposes of everyone in the van.
Owen, who looks as if he borrowed his wardrobe from “Sin City,” is a determined protector who uses his amazing gun-fighting skill mixed with lots of humor along the way. Let’s just say, that he finds more deadly uses for a carrot than anyone other Bugs Bunny.
“Shoot ‘Em Up” knows exactly what it is and doesn’t take itself too seriously. During one humorous gun battle, Hertz asks in frustration, “My god. Do we really suck or is this guy really that good?” Not only is Smith that good, but so is this fun adventure.