For once a movie really lives up to its title. The name Shoot ‘Em Up is the perfect label for this action flick in which Clive Owen’s character uses 18 different guns, fires off countless rounds and spills (according to IMDB) 15 gallons of fake blood. Finally there’s some truth in advertising. Now the question is whether or not you want to rent a movie so over-the-top it makes Natural Born Killers look subtle.
Owen is the singularly named Smith (like Cher or Madonna only with big guns), a carrot-chomping transient with an extensive military background. He has stepped away from polite society in the hopes of leading his own, quiet life. Of course that hasn’t worked out for him—otherwise this movie would be called Leave ‘Em Alone. Instead of tranquility he finds himself embroiled in Byzantine political conspiracy, on the run with a baby and a prostitute (Monica Bellucci) all the while tracked by a bloodthirsty hit man named Hertz (Paul Giamatti) and a swarm of assorted bad guys.
Shoot ‘Em Up is kind of review proof. If it is crazy action you want then you’ll love it. If not, the frenetic pace and relentless bang bang of the movie will be headache inducing. It’s that simple.
I thought it was great mindless fun and at least features good actors—Owen and Giamatti are both Oscar nominees—who seem to be having fun shooting guns and uttering snappy one liners like, “Guns don’t kill people! But they sure help!”