Another Action-Movie Forgotten Gem: Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)

The last full length movie to date of director/writer Michael Davis, Shoot ‘Em Up has acquired a cult following and is perhaps due for a re-evaluation. 

The movie boasted a game cast including Clive Owen, Monica Belluci and especially Paul Giamatti, whose character Karl Hertz channels a live action Elmer Fudd against Clive Owen’s Smith, a Bugs Bunny-style carrot-munching good guy, in a movie that blends John Woo, Looney Tunes and Tom Tywker’s Run Lola Run (1998) to good effect. Not a group of the most charismatic of actors, but here Owen displays a lightness of touch with a Leone-era Eastwood charisma – and doesn’t attempt an American accent… Praise the Lord.
Some decent dialogue that doesn’t try to ape Tarantino, including:
Karl Hertz
  • Oh, c’mon, Smith. Guns don’t kill people… [grins] but they sure help!
  • My God. Do we really suck, or is this guy really that good?

Hertz: Tell me where the woman and the child are. (grabs Smith’s ring finger) Tell me, or I will be forced to cause you…considerable agony.

SmithBelieve me… nothing could be more agonizing than to listen to you jabberin’ on and on
  • (after ramming a carrot through the back of a guy’s head) Eat your vegetables.
  • I don’t understand a word you’re going on about, but I know exactly what you’re saying and I refuse to apologize. 
With shades of Stallone’s Demolition Man (1993), another an smart actioner with a visual stylist as director (Marco Brambilla) who has done little of note in the film world since, Shoot ‘Em Up is highly recommended. Do they make fun action movies like this anymore? Give it another watch or see it for the first time now on one of these streaming platforms

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Stephen Arnell

Culture Comment Content Provider. Portrait courtesy of artist Darren Coffield. 'Non satis me tempo'