Saturday, March 15, 2008

REVIEW: Shoot 'Em Up

Shoot 'Em Up

Year: 2007
Director: Michael Davis
Starring: Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Monica Bellucci, Stephen McHattie, Greg Bryk
Distributor: New Line Cinema
MPAA: Rated R

Shoot 'Em Up was one of those upcoming films from New Line that looked kind of cool, but never something I would pay for. The film debut onto theaters with disappointing box office numbers. The movie grossed an estimated $25 million on a budget of $39 million. The movie wasn't a hit like the studio and executives thought it would be. Still, even with these numbers, Shoot 'Em Up scored pretty well with the critics giving it an average score. At first, I thought the trailer for the movie was kind of cheesy and fast paced. I wasn't interested in paying $10 bucks to go see it. After awhile, I eventually checked out the DVD version when it came out and its a somewhat entertaining movie.

Plot Outline:
A carrot eating loner named Smith (Clive Owen) witnesses a pregnant woman being chased by a violent man for reasons unrevealed. Against his better judgment, he jumps into the way and becomes involved in what ultimately turns into a war with an intelligent crime boss named Hertz(Paul Giamatti). Along for the ride is the baby Smith delivered and the Italian prostitute named Donna Quintano (Monica Bellucci) who is the only person he can trust.

The plot doesn't even have an introduction and we don't know whats going on. We don't know who's who or any of their names. Sooner than later, the characters start talking and we get to know who they are, but the story isn't explained much. Its kind of a bad to not know whats going on. The movie also has some problems, but the main one I notice was that the character in the story is almost too perfect. He doesn't get bang up or killed when hes in many of his gun battles. It makes it look way too stupid for the character of Smith to be dodging all these bullets, this isn't Matrix. Cheesy lines are something that also bring this films story down. Theirs just too many in the film. The movie is mostly straight forward, but their are tons of moments where the plot gets predictable for the audience. With this said, the movie somehow manages to become fun. The film features alot of John Woo type shoot outs and even some with insane stunts that work sometimes, but also make the film look unrealistic.

The cast of Shoot 'Em Up is a pretty solid one. Clive Owen plays Smith and hes pretty good for the main role in the film. Coming hot off the heels of Children of Men, Owen isn't great here as he was their so the performance is pretty good, but not great. Paul Giamatti plays as Hertz and hes very creative. His character seems just about right for Giamatti to handle. He has a somewhat distinctive look that seems great for the role of Hertz. Monica Bellucci plays as Donna Quintano and shes fucking hot as heck. She definitely has the looks for the role of Donna and the great body to go with it. I enjoyed her role very much. We also have Stephen McHattie playing as Hammerson, but hes mostly just in the background. His part isn't really great or groundbreaking.

The visual look of Shoot 'Em Up is described as rough and gritty. The movie isn't color friendly so we don't get a whole lot of color in the picture, but the movie does have this pale color tone to it. The whole movie is pretty dark and fast paced. While the film might not be colorful, but its definitely in pristine shape so the source is clean. The movie is also pretty sharp and has good detail. Close up shots reveal great looking detail that is very present through out the entire film. While I would recommend showing off Shoot 'Em Up to friends as a demo material, but its a pretty strong release by New Line.

The soundtrack in Shoot 'Em Up is pretty aggressive. The music is composed by Paul Haslinger who also composed some popular hits like Crank and Vacancy. I wasn't able to detect any score for the movie so that's a real let down. The movie would have been cooler if it had a score to go with the film. However, just like Crank, the music is a mixed mix of other music. Some from pop and some are hard 70's. They sound pretty good and some seem to work with certain scenes. Bass is also strong in Shoot 'Em Up with alot of scenes just featuring some amazing rumbles because of the shoot outs. These sound real nice and really aggressive. Dialogue is also pretty clean with some crispness to it.

Shoot 'Em Up just feels like your average action movie with nothing that separates it from other movies in the same genre. The story is decent, but has alot of cheesy dialogue and many scenes where Smith survives some of the weirdest battles. The cast is solid with the cast members giving out entertaining performances. The visual look of the movie is nice and gritty with attention to detail. The soundtrack mostly consists of mixed music and not its own score, but the bass sounds amazing. I couldn't help, but think how dumb this movie can be at times. Then I think of all the John Woo style stunts and shoot outs in the movie that I enjoyed. I wouldn't recommend this film to those seeking Oscar caliber films, but its definitely a rent for those wanting an action adventure film.

Grade: C+

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