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1/3/08

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You absolutely have to watch this film with a grain of salt. If you take it seriously for even a second, you probably won't enjoy it. But it's pretty hard to do so, when within the first couple of minutes, Clive Owen is mowing down thugs while delivering a baby, even cutting the umbilical cord with one of the thousands of bullets he dispenses in the opening scene. Writer/Director Michael Davis has crafted an extremely bloody, over-the-top, live-action cartoon.


Clive Owen plays a nameless anti-hero, who takes it upon himself to save this baby in the opening scene and is then ruthlessly hunted by a brilliant assassin played by Paul Giamatti. Both Clive and Paul are in full scenery-chewing mode. Not a thing they say, you can take seriously, but they're both such great actors that it's fun to watch them really let loose. The gorgeous Monica Bellucci is pretty much wasted, doesn't offer up anything beyond pretty too look at. Which is a waste, because she's a great actress as well, but I guess somebody had to play it straight.

There's some convoluted reason why Paul is trying to kill this baby, but it's merely a McGuffin, for the director to have a bunch of fun blowing shit up, shooting it in from all kinds of wacky angles. Clive is constantly jumping over and through all kinds of obstacles, shooting hundreds of faceless thugs. There's a scene where he's having sex with Monica and can't bother to stop when twenty assassins bust into their room. One of the funnest scenes, comes when they all jump out of a plane and Clive dispatches another twenty assassins as he speeds towards the ground with no parachute. Like I said, you can't take a second of this film seriously.

There's been a bunch of these brainless, cartoon action-flicks lately, the best being: Crank, Smokin' Aces, and Running Scared, you can add Shoot 'Em Up to that list. It may just be the most over-the-top of the bunch. The film is edited at a thousand miles per second and each action-scene has an accompanying metal song to amp it up even more. The wire-work is in full force, as every time somebody gets shot, they fly about twenty feet.

Michael Davis seems to excel at these type of films, he made a horror version called
Monster Man - which I enjoyed more than this film. If you enjoy action films, turn off your brain, and watch a ton of stuff get blown up and thousand guys get killed in inventive ways.




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