Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Shoot 'Em Up

This is about the most pure, undiluted “action” film I have seen since…well, possibly ever. I mean that as a compliment, too. There are far too many genre films out there that keep weakening themselves by trying to include elements that aren’t iconic to the genre in an effort to reach a wider audience. I say that this approach is nothing more than shameless pandering, and I shall not tolerate it.

The film stars Clive Owen as a potentially nameless badass that goes around gunning down and beating the shit out of just about everyone he sees in an effort to protect a newborn baby that is being threatened by an outright army of goons (his protection actually begins a bit early, as he starts by trying to protect the mother with a gunfight while she’s in labor). The bad guys are led by Paul Giamatti in the most brilliantly over the top performance he’s yet given, and Monica Bellucci is also in it as a lactating hooker who gets roped into helping Owen, and that’s about all the plot you need or will get.

What makes this film so brilliant is in how the film opens up with over the top nonsense (gotta love that ridiculously blatant CG baby), and just keeps topping itself as the film goes on. This is no minor feat, when one of the first scenes has the kid on a merry-go-round being menaced by Giamatti armed with a sniper rifle (wielded from a parked car for maximum secrecy), and is protected by Clive Owen shooting the handles of the merry-go-round so that it keeps spinning and causing Giamatti to miss. If you can visualize such a scene within your mind, and not want to see this as a result, then I just don’t know what’s wrong with you.

I haven’t seen every action movie of the past year, but I’m gonna go ahead and say that this is the best one of 2007 anyway. Yes, even better than Live Free or Die Hard. Why, then, am I giving it a lower rating? Because I’m a contrary asshole, of course. I don’t need to explain myself to you. Just go give this one a view. The movie bafflingly tanked in theaters (well, given that Alvin & the Chipmunks is one of the highest grossing films of 2007, I guess it’s not THAT baffling), so now it’s on all of you to get it on DVD and show your support for awesomeness. Remember, if you ride without Shoot ‘Em Up, you ride with Hitler!

Rating: *** ½

No comments: