MICHAEL DAVIS’ SHOOT ‘EM UP — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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Shoot ‘Em Up is a wildly silly R-rated cartoon of a movie, tremendously fun and berserk and made with low-budget zeal and ingenuity. Playing like a Looney Tunes adventure on a few hits of PCP, this is pure comic-book-movie shenanigans, but instead of superheroes from another galaxy, the characters in this oddly eccentric actioner bounce off one another with crazy glee and nasty aplomb.  There’s a lactating hooker (Monica Bellucci, bless her gorgeous soul), an infant mixed up in a barrage of bullet-riddled set—pieces, a mid-coitus shoot-out that’s both sexy and stupid in equal measure, and enough barking-mad scenery chewing from Paul Giamatti, as one of the most incompetent villains in the history of action movies, to choke a horse. Clive Owen basically reprised his role from the BMW Films series, this time with a carrot fetish (you’ll see!), as a take-no-nonsense Driver who shoots first, steps on the gas second, and rarely has time to ask questions. Pseudo-amateur filmmaker Michael Davis famously got this film made by showing New Line execs the entire movie via hand-drawn pre-viz artwork, and it’s a shame that someone with this level of creativity hasn’t been allowed to work since (the movie flopped big time at the box office despite mostly positive reviews).  Peter Pau’s aggressively stylish cinematography is a constant eye-scorcher, making the film feel larger than its modest budget likely allowed. There’s a careening sense of insanity to Shoot ‘Em Up, with the film’s wicked energy level never stopping for a moment.  Make no mistake – this film is complete junk-food-cinema, but it’s so happily absurd about its own existence that it’s tough to not go along with it, as it’s an endeavor that managed to talk the talk and walk the walk when it comes to extreme, outlandish thrills.

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