Saturday, September 25, 2021

Shoot 'Em Up

Movie Name:
Shoot 'Em Up
Year of Release: 2007
Director: Michael Davis
Starring: Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Monica Bellucci, Stephen McHattie, Greg Bryk, Daniel Pilon, Ramona Pringle
Genre: Action, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Writer/Director Michael Davis made a name for himself as a storyboard artist, before embarking on a directorial career. Prior to "Shoot 'Em Up" his previous features were a combination of light hearted comedies and some horror ventures, with "100 Girls" being his feature that got some further recognition (back in 2000, featuring Jonathan Tucker and Jaime Pressly). "Shoot 'Em Up" follows the story of Smith, who is sitting by himself at a bus stop. His moment of tranquility is shattered when a frantic pregnant woman runs by, who is being pursued by a man with a gun. Smith ends up helping the woman, who is also in the middle of delivery, while the both of them are being shot by an array of hoodlums who have joined in. While the woman doesn't survive, Smith grabs the newborn, and manages to thwart all of his opponents. He seeks help from a woman he had a prior relationship with, who is currently working in a brothel, and decides to investigate why so many people are trailing him and wanting to kill a newborn. Heading the chase is the ferocious Hertz, who will stop at nothing to get that baby.
"Shoot 'Em Up" is an unpretentious, B-movie type of experience, where there's paltry character definition, but where the momentum and action is non stop. Since the moment we're introduced to the lead character, there's a continuous sequence of actions, all finely orchestrated, where the events themselves feel straight out of a Tex Avery/Chuck Jones cartoon, only bloodier and possibly not quite as humorous. The narrative itself is very much similar to the staples of a Charles Bronson/Death Wish or even Clint Eastwood/Dirty Harry series, with the central hero having little to say, but being ruthless & efficient, honest & incorruptible and also kind to those who can't defend themselves. While the film never spends much time explaining who these characters are, they all have their own charisma and a great cast to bring them to life. Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Monica Bellucci all perfectly showcase just enough traits and information to make these characters feel more than two dimensional clich├ęs (just barely). The production team is solid, including the cinematography from the award winning Peter Pau, the score from Paul Haslinger and editing from Peter Amundson. Entertaining, though easily forgettable.