Featuring: Clive “Sin City” Owen , Paul “The Illusionist” Giamatti , Monica “Brotherhood of the Wolf” Bellucci
Director: Michael “Monster Man” Davis
Writer: Michael “Monster Man” Davis
Due to the miniaturized makeup of this particle of an article, my Xtro tonight will be more of a “all the shit I forgot to touch on” rundown for the movie, which the original review sorely neglected to note. I was pleased to see that my current self seems to be pretty well in-tune with my 8 years junior self about just how “kicking your face in with its awesomeness” the movie really is. So, let’s snap into our Slim Jims (or in this case, carrots), pop in a fresh magazine and fire a few rounds of high-caliber hype at Shoot ‘Em Up!
Michael Davis. What the fuck, man?! For years you’ve been wallowing in anonymity, playing it low and quiet by making everybody think you were just another throwaway crap writer, working on shit like Charles Band kiddie productions and that colon blocking Double Dragon movie. Then you go and do something like Shoot ‘Em Up?! Forget that I’d actually heard some halfway decent praise for Monster Man before, but after seeing this shining opus of Looney Tunes run & gun parody I’m actually tempted to bump your “redneck monster truck serial killer” movie up on my viewing list! Wow, I guess Shoot ‘Em Up just goes to prove that today’s $10/hour b-movie writer very well can become tomorrow’s next cult action movie fan favorite! It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re on a path to making much more money, but at least Mikey “Dynamite” Davis earned some legitimate names to star in his flick and got it pushed into a national theatrical release! It’s more than most names from the direct-to-video shelves ever manage.
The art of film parody is a tight rope act: you can either choose to go all out and make a movie that’s straightforward slapstick comedy (a la Airplane or The Naked Gun), or you can go for a more subtle parody by making a movie that less-than-insightful audiences may mistake for being just another spawn of the genre you’re elbowing in the ribs. Fortunately, the more cerebral viewers amongst us will understand the underlying winkwinknudgenudge humor beneath all of the muzzle flashes and piling bodies, so there’s always hope. The goofy option is not as easy to pull off as most people would think (Epic Movie and Date Movie, go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done), but the latter is five times harder. And Davis moonwalks across that tightrope with what appears to be ease, but no doubt required years of practice to achieve. Somehow, Beanstalk and 100 Girls was the training he needed. It’s just like Mr. Miyagi making Daniel-san wax his car and catch flies with chopsticks – it doesn’t make sense at the time, but it all comes together when somebody has to kick William Zabka in the FACE!
Originally written right around the time that the self-proclaimed “Trenchcoat Mafia” decided to gun their pimply faced teen angst into the history books, Shoot ‘Em Up was, ironically enough, shot down by all of Hollywood. Fortunately, all the Columbine hubbub eventually cooled off enough that writer-director Davis was able to impress just enough people with his ideas that he could get his feature made. Lucky for us, he did so before fatal mass shootings became something school cafeterias could schedule their lunch calendars around. Any longer on the Tinseltown back burner and Shoot ‘Em Up would’ve become just another pile of wasted ingredients doomed to a future as primordial ooze alongside some Steak & Hepatitis Quesadillas at the bottom of a Chi-Chi’s dumpster.
Shoot ‘Em Up starts off as a simple enough tale: our hero is the mysterious, carrot-chomping (good for the eyesight, better for jamming through bad guys’ faces), pet peeve riddled Fellini of firearms known only as Mr. Smith (Clive Owen at his most cool and collected state of bad-assedness). Oh, and If you’re over 40 and wear a ponytail, stay the fuck away from this guy. He finds you neither hip or young, and certainly not cool. Smith’s just waiting for a bus one night when he falls into one of those “only in the movies” wrong-place-at-the-right-time scenarios as a preggo woman on the run just happens to find herself being chased down by her pursuers within (fire)arm’s reach of our hero. Smith intervenes in protagonistic fashion, and while fending off the small army of henchgoons (he literally kills eleven guys in the movie’s first 5 minutes), our gunstar hero delivers the baby (shooting through the umbilical cord) and escapes with the rugrat intact after momma gets a bullet in her forebrain. The villain for which said goons were henching is a depraved former FBI Profiler troll (I’m sorry, “Forensic Behavior Consultant” troll) named Hertz, played sickeningly perfect by Paul Giamatti with deranged delight. Though we never get to hear his first name, I like to think it’s Richard, because “Dick Hertz” is a name that never gets not-funny.
Fortunately, the good guy has a fetish friend named D.Q. (Monica Bellucci) who works out of a whorehouse set up in an abandoned church. She lets guys nurse on her mommy juice for a price, so Smithy hands the kid over to her to keep the rugrat fed and happy. Also, pacifiers be damned, as the only thing that keeps this baby from crying is heavy metal music, making him already more metal than any baby any of you will ever have. Babysitter hired, our mangy hero sets out to uncover just what it is that Hertz has up his sleeze-sleave, why the manhunt for a seemingly harmless mother-to-be, and what it all has to do with [deep breath] an up and coming presidential candidate, gun control laws, Smith’s mysterious “tragic hero” past, a big time firearms manufacturer, stem cell experimentation, a baby harvesting operation, AND [*wheeeeze, gasp, deep breath*] a secret service agent who loves his gun in unnatural ways usually only reserved for the NRA’s “Lifetime & Beyond” membership levels! Whew.
Some people might expect the movie to wind up crushed under the weight of its own clusterfuck, but if you find you can’t handle the plot twists and story elements, just switch off your logic chip (or tear the damn thing out) and play “Count the Bodies” (patent pending) instead!
When I initially rented Crank, I realized that I’d missed what could’ve been a pisser of a theatrical experience. When I first saw the trailers for Shoot ‘Em Up, I did not wish to let my past mistake repeat itself and knew I’d instead be adding another ticket stub to the collection. Oh please, like you don’t have a drawer full of stubs for every movie you’ve gone to since the 5th grade! Between this and Children of Men, I’ve become an increasingly bigger fan of Clive Owen over the last year. I actually considered going to see Elizabeth: the Golden Age because he’s in it! I didn’t, mind you, but I considered it, and that’s saying something in and of itzelf. Yeah, there’s a ‘z’ there. You read right. I found a case of Zimas walled up in my office by the house’z previouz owner. Zo what?
Anyway, Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, and to a lesser extent, (for you guys just looking for a piece of ass to stare at) Monica Bellucci all play up their parts in parodic performances. Owen’s action hero one-liners can get annoying around the movie’s mid-section, Bellucci’s overdone accent tends to do the same and Giamatti gets to the point where he’s just too gross to look at. But that’s what they’re SUPPOSED TO DO. Even if you can’t get past the acting-to-extremes, all of the absurd over-the-top action, the movie’s unexpectedly positive message about gun control amidst the inclusion of every ’80s NRA boner flick cliche, the killer soundtrack, cringe worthy gestapo-like torture moments, a phe-fucking-nomenal car chase scene, a Home Aloneian shooting orgy in an armory, the coolest damn aerial action sequence since Crank, and the general enjoyment that comes from your stomach muscles hurting because you’ve been laughing at the fact that a man was just killed with a carrot, all make the trip from worthwhile. Besides, when a movie can actually make me sit through an entire playing of “Kick Start My Heart” without feeling bad that I’m listening to a Motley Crue song, that’s just magic.
Xtro: Having re-watched SEU for the first time in years to do this rerun, I forgot just how much fucking fun it is to behold! So much fun, it’s the only movie out of the 36 reviews I’ve done since the reopening of the site to actually attain GOLD FEATHER status! The absurdity is just pure, uncut, Colombian enjoyment candy. You know how so many movies anymore are the product of music video directors trying to fudge an aesthetic that works best in small bits into a 90min marathon, and they just end up winded, wheezing, and clutching their burning chests in career agony while their nipples bleed, shit runs down the backs of their legs, and they blackout into obscurity? Shoot ‘Em Up? This is the type of movie where that shit (rather than the aforementioned poo-poo pudding) works!
Smith is the definition of the cool guy hero: he spews painfully stupid one-liners and witty retorts with confidence, he’s the balance of macho and sensitive that make men want to be him and women want to be on top of him and he can split a horsefly’s butthole from a hundred yards from 100 yards. I mean, the guy’s the Jackie Chan of gun-fu! The Annie Oakley of ass kicking! Motherfucker makes Hawkeye look like Mr. Magoo! Just having the deadest of deadeyes isn’t enough to make widows of an entire goon army’s wives though, so naturally Smith has the action hero trait known as the “GI Joe Gene”, thus making him immune to actually being shot. He’s so untouchable, his first name’s probably Unus!… little geek humor for my nipples deep X-Men fan boys and girls out there in the world wide wasteland.
In an interesting twist on the bang bang movie tropes, Hertz isn’t just another scumbag boss who won’t get his hands dirty. He’s always in the thick of the action, and makes sure to tell everyone about it in case the audience didn’t notice. Because he’s not allowed to die prior to the big finale showdown, Hertz too has the Joe Gene (well, the Cobra strain), allowing him to avoid even the slightest scratch in spite of the myriad corpses piling around his ankles from Smith’s bullet barrage. Worry not though, as our hero eventually finds a technicality in the script’s “bad guy can’t be killed by guns” rule by taking the term “firearm” to new literal heights that could change the way the Supreme Court looks at enforcing gun laws.
Since we’re well past the shelf date for spoilers on this can of kill soup, if you thought Honey Bunny and Ringo picked the wrong day to rob a diner, that’s nothing compared to the last scene of Shoot ‘Em Up.
Sadly, this rerun doubles as an epitaph for a career that ended too soon, because it looks like Shoot ‘Em Up may have been the nail in the coffin for Michael Davis’ time as a movie maker. The gent has not had a worthwhile film credit in the 8 years since. This saddens me. Anubis no like. Bad medicine. I’m sorry Mr. Davis, but your vision was too beautiful for this world. May you find the renown you deserve when Hollywood inevitably remakes Shoot ‘Em Up in 2037 and you’re wheeled to the to premiere as a living head in a jar…like a candle in the wind.
Moral of the Story: What’s worse than a bullet in your ass? Two.
“Ain’t I a stinker?” Well, you look like you haven’t showered in a week, so I’m gonna say… yes.
Paul Giamatti responds to critics of Fred Claus.
“I don’t know Mr. Giamatti. I mean, I actually liked Lady in the Water… well, kinda. I thought you were pretty good, at least.”
Don’t want a gun in your face and your life under threat of immediate termination? DON’T CASUALLY FART IN THE FACES OF PEOPLE BEHIND YOU ON THE ESCALATOR!
What the fuck is with the human wall?! Did someone switch out reels with a Hellraiser movie on me?!
Exactly why I don’t pop a zit right before going out with someone. I keep eyeball stickers on hand for concealing such emergencies.
Okay, I know enlistment rates are down, but I think the US Army’s going a little far with their recruitment tactics these days.
Clive Owen auditions for the part of The Rat King in the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel.
“Wait… you’re Marilyn Manson, aren’t you?! I love your work! I have all your albums!”
“Wait… you’re Cher, aren’t you?! I love your work! I have all your albums!”
“Well Junior, you’re almost 4 hours old. You’ve sucked your first hooker tit and I think you’re ready for your first concealed weapon!”
Someone misunderstands the concept of having “protected sex”. This is what happens when your sex ed class is taught by the head of your local NRA chapter.
Gas-X had mixed results from their new “sexier” ad campaign.
Okay, these fucking Terminator sequels are just getting silly.
Robert Patrick’s uncle, ladies and gentlemen. Paul Giamatti is not amused.
One of the most metal deaths you can have? Torn to pieces by helicopter blades! One of the least metal faces you can make before your big death? This guy’s.
That’s pretty much how I feel about Shoot ‘Em Up. *SPLOOSH!*
Anubis will return next time in
“Night of the Living Ludgate”
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