(VOD) I’ll preface this entry by saying: this is not a great film, but it is a gonzo film.
SHOOT ‘EM UP came out at the tail end of the early naughts stream of batshitcrazy action films — films that dispensed with anything like plot or narrative and just immediately leapt into a bunch of crazy stunts — which popped around the time of THE TRANSPORTER, then hit a high note with CRANK, then ended around the time that SHOOT ‘EM UP and CRANK 2 was released, when more gritty vengeance action came back into vogue. (I’m no action film expert, so my apologies if I’m painting this time with broad strokes.)
This is a film where the lead, Smith (Clive Owen), is introduced sitting on a bench, chomping away at a ridiculously large carrot Bugs Bunny-style, watches a pregnant woman in dire straits, clothed in The Bride yellow, walk down an alley. Smith sees a man gleefully follow her, brandishing a gun with a grin.
I’m going to leave the rest of the scene here because, while I’ve previously tried to type it out, it’s too dense. I will say: this is probably the first gunshot umbilical cord removal ever seen on film. Also, ingenious use an oil pan, and showcases that even carrots can be a deadly weapon.
It only escalates from there.
While this was filmed in the mid-naughts, it’s really a 80s cartoonish action film that is self-aware, and somehow got a number of amazing actors: the previously mentioned Clive Owens (probably only here because of CHILDREN OF MEN), Paul Giamatti (clearly loving his role), and Monica Bellucci, who probably should’ve bowed out because there’s not enough for her here, but she still gives it her all.
It’s a very dumb, very masculine action film, but cripes, the set-pieces are divine. Again, it’s not great, but it’s deliciously gonzo.