Thursday, November 01, 2007

SHOOT 'EM UP: Creative gunplay

SHOOT 'EM UP (action thriller)

Cast: Clive Owen, Monica Belluci and Paul Giamatti
Director: Michael Davis
Time: 86 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)

PREAMBLE: Now, action fans, it’s time for some creative gunplay choreography quiz. How many shootout situations can
you think of for a relentless ‘bang-bang’ fantasy like "Shoot 'Em Up"?

Dodging bullets while delivering a baby? (check!)
Firing from under beds and tables? (that’s been done, but check!)
Shootout in the cabin of a jet-plane? (check)
Firing while flying through windows? (check)
Blasting at the baddies while abseiling down a stair well? (check)
Shooting out a soft landing while jumping from a building? (done before, but check)
Mid-air gunfight after dropping from a plane? (check!)
Picking off the enemy while having sex, with the woman in throes of orgasm? (awesome, check!)

Now, how about blasting at the baddies with a carrot in the gun's trigger-catch because your fingers are all broken? Bet you cannot imagine how it can be done, eh? Yes folks, welcome to the absurd world of "Shoot 'Em Up" and have yourself a blast! The plot, sold to the studio executives as 'John Woo's wet dream' uses bullets for brains, and bends reality so much
that it borders on depravity.

THE PLOT: As soon as we are introduced to the morose carrot-chomping Mr Smith (Clive Owen), who goes to the rescue of a pregnant woman being threatened by some hoods, the shooting starts and continues right to the end. (This opening is reportedly inspired by Chow Yun Fat's character who helps to deliver a baby in a John Woo movie). In between the illogical action
and stunts we have dollops of wry humour - like Smith stabbing the eye of a thug with a carrot and going 'Looney Tunes' with "What's up, Doc?", and a deliciously vile villain (Paul Giamatti as Mr Hertz) who gets interrupted every now and then with phone calls from his wife about his son's birthday party.
Hertz, you see, is after the orphaned newborn (it's a boy, by the way) for his bone marrow and our hero, Smith, is all out to protect the infant. For this, he seeks the aid of a lactating hooker (Monica Bellucci as Donna Quintano) to keep the baby alive. For the purposes of writer-director Michael Davis' script, a 'lactating' Bellucci would offer the eye-popping excuse to don the Wonderbra.

HITS & MISSES: It is obvious that Davis had been inspired by the style of "Sin City", especially its scenes of cityscape and tone. Anyway, with a title like "Shoot 'Em Up", viewers who complain that the movie lacks brains ought to have their minds examined. This send-up of the 'bang-bang' movie genre is played for its thrills and spills and action fans should derive 'guilty fun' out of it - just like the cast who seem to have a great time here.

THE LOWDOWN: This movie seems bound to 'explode' at the box-office and I won't be surprise if some people made a videogame out of it.


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