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Published on September 10th, 2007 | by Erich Becker


Review: Shoot ‘Em Up

When you think about the hundreds of ways you can kill a man with ordinary household objects, chances are that using a carrot is not high on your list, or at all. After all those orange vegetables loathed by kids and loved by rabbits on their way to Albuquerque could never be really used as a weapon, right? Leave it to the ambiguously named Mr. Smith (Clive Owen) to use a carrot more than a few times in the cartoonish gun-fight send up Shoot ‘Em Up to dispense his brand of justice, and you know what? It works out really well.


Make no mistake about it, Shoot ‘Em Up shouldn’t be a good movie in the sense of the way The Shawshank Redemption is a good movie. There’s no plot, no character development, the script is rife with one liners and the cobbled together narrative that just links gun fights together. It’s utterly absurd in most respects, it’s lacking in everything but pure popcorn value, but in the end, you leave the theater with a huge smile on your face and the images of gravity defying acrobatics and guns attached to strings running through your head.

Since the gun fights are the primary draw, it seems only reasonable that they would be out-of-this-world in style. The Matrix holds nothing up to Shoot ‘Em Up in this capacity as Mr. Smith unloads clip after clip while dodging bullets, eating his aforementioned favorite vegetable, and trying to save a baby born to harvest its bone marrow (yep, that’s the entire story). The highlight battle being in a gun factory, of all places, where Smith prepares a death trap of wood, string, and lead that would make Jigsaw proud.


And that’s basically it, the entire movie summed up three paragraphs. Even after it’s all said and done the brisk 87 minute runtime yields just enough action to be satisfying by not over staying its welcome. Owen shines once again as the quipping leading man with Paul Giamatti stepping into the villain’s role without any hesitation. Shoot ‘Em Up is a rare breed of film that shuns pretty much everything except balls-to-the-walls gun play and still manages to come out ahead, and encouraging children and adults alike to eat their vegetables.


About the Author

Thirty-something with a love of everything we cover here, and a few things we don't. Erich has run Entertainmentopia since the site's inception in 1999, countless redesigns, a few crashes, and a lot of media later, here you have it!

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