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Shoot 'Em Up

Starring Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Monica Bellucci
Written and Directed by Michael Davis

IN SHORT: Ssh! I'm hunting wabbits!. [Rated R. 93 minutes]

Early on during our screening of shoot em up, Yours Cranky found our self thinking we were watching a live action equivalent of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Only with gunfire and bullets and blood instead of slapstick. Five minutes later the script makes its own literal comparison to Bugs Bunny ' toons, and we knew we were on the right track. With Paul Giamatti in the Elmer Fudd role, and Clive Owen as the good guy (if not the total wascal...) Shoot 'em Up is a perfect metaphor for NYC in the 1970s. The Big Apple, then, was dangerous and violent and just the place where violence could  happen in front of a crowd of people and no one would do a damned thing about it. Bad stuff was happening and no one wanted to get involved . . .

And so begins the story of Shoot 'em Up, as "Mr. Smith" (Clive Owen) waits for a bus. As the bleeding blonde bit player comes screaming across his path, chased by a man in black carrying a big gun, our reluctant hero sips from his his cup of coffee and...  does... nothing.

Yeah, well, screaming blonde yadda yadda Owen eventually gets off his butt and intervenes. From there on out, Shoot 'em Up is a delirously addled ride; barely making sense continuity-wise but making this middle aged guy feel like a fifteen year old on a roller coaster, instead. We're not about to explain how Monica Bellucci fits into the mix -- there's always a femme in an intrige-tinged flick -- but we will go as far as to say Paul Giamatti's character is called Mr. Hertz. Which is about as apt a description as you need as he commands legions of hit men and fends off a complaining wife.

Good enough for us, folks. It's too hot and muggy here in New York to want anything other than a great ride. This is that ride.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Shoot 'em Up, he would have paid . . .


We could pick on the story's continuity errors -- and any film student would be screaming How Does He Know That ??? except that we don't really care for the film student aspect of criticizing. Shoot 'em Up is too action packed and (almost) too much fun. Have a blast.

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