Screenwriter Michael Davis’ earlier films run the gamut from passable (Eight Days a Week) to laughable (Double Dragon) but he successful breaks off his longtime relationship with mediocrity to write and direct the ferociously outrageous and frequently clever shoot ‘em up flick appropriately titled, Shoot ‘Em Up.
Two things prevent Shoot ‘Em Up from enlisting in the faceless army of by-the-numbers action movies: 1) Endlessly inventive violence -- it’s quite the kiddie pleaser these days -- and 2) a tongue that never strays far from the proverbial cheek.
Bullets and ass kickings are in fashion and available in the all the latest styles; like the traditional mid-air, twin uzi, simultaneous mow-down of multiple baddies, the slightly more daring mid-coitus firing exhibition, and the truly experimental cranial incision via carrot. The only person who won’t be thrilled to death with Shoot ‘Em Up’s extensive menu of killing blows is a pacifist.
Although said pacifist should be happy to know that Shoot ‘Em Up’s de facto hero, Mr. Smith (Clive Owen), is an enthusiastic proponent of gun laws. Not to mention social etiquette, especially when it pertains to handicap parking or child rearing, the latter of which is the reason Mr. Smith transforms into a one-man army in the first place. To describe the plot in greater detail than saying Mr. Smith is saving the life of a baby and a hooker one fantastic death at a time would be a disservice to the film’s camp-infused spirit.
You may be wondering, “Does Shoot ‘Em Up’s plot even make sense?” Yes it does, kind of. But the more important question is, “Should you care?” The answer: not at all. If you expect produce to be eaten and the laws of physics to remain an impartial bystander in the fight against bad guys, then Shoot ‘Em Up is not the movie for you.
If, on the other hand, you can make those concessions as well as accept a gleefully over the top Paul Giammati as a family man criminal mastermind, then make your way over to the local cinema. Shoot ‘Em Up will deliver the goods, one gory, outrageous, carrot-riddled death at a time.