Five reasons to see – or flee – “Shoot ‘Em Up”

I was actually sort of excited about Shoot ‘Em Up, which is set to open this Friday. The title sounds a little bloody for my usual taste, but I sometimes do like a good, brainless action flick. Oh, and then there’s this:

Yeah, there’s a reason Monica Bellucci made the AfterEllen.com Hot 100 list. No. 68 doesn’t do her justice.

Here’s the movie’s plot, such as it is: Clive Owen stars as “a mysterious loner who teams up with an unlikely ally to protect a newborn baby” from villains who hunt them “throughout the bowels of the city.” (Uh, wait a minute. This is sounding awfully familiar.) And the trailer is fun, at least from the action movie standpoint. It’s beautifully filmed (well, beautiful for a gritty, dirty set), and Paul Giamatti looks engagingly demented. Even more than usual, I mean.



My favorite part is the exchange about bullets. Question: You want to pay for bullets with food stamps? Answer: They’re as good as cash. I would bet money somebody’s used that line at my local Wal-Mart.

The movie’s reviews, however, make me want to give this one a miss. But I had a conversation at work yesterday in which everything I said made a co-worker all the more anxious to nab a front-row seat. So I’ll pass along that information here: Five reasons to see — or flee — this movie. With pictures. (Spoilers ahead.)

1. Monica Bellucci. This one’s a no-brainer and the only incentive for me. Nobody’s running away from Monica Bellucci.

2. Clive Owen. His acting style grates on my nerves. I’ll be annoyed every time he hooks up with Bellucci; in fact, I’m annoyed just looking at the still. (And I’m still irritated that he’s playing Sir Walter Raleigh in the forthcoming Elizabeth: The Golden Age.)

3. 2007 Comic-Con success. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, but reviews from the sneak screenings make the movie sound suspiciously like something meant to appeal to the teenage-boy-at-heart demographic. I mean, when Rolling Stone calls the movie “a wet dream for action junkies,” what are we supposed to think?

4. The spoof factor. Director Michael Davis aims for Tarantino-esque parody: Ultra-violence, ramped-up action sequences, and lots of carnage and cars. I admit I had to watch Kill Bill with one hand over my eyes — I don’t do well with blood. But I still loved the movie (correction — loved watching the girls in the movie). This one takes it a step further. One scene hailed as “hilariously outrageous” involves Owen shooting off a baby’s umbilical cord during a birth scene, spraying the mother’s face with blood. Um, hilarious? That bit alone would score a different reaction at a lesbian film festival, I’m betting. And this movie lacks the girlfights that were the highlights of Kill Bill.

5. Lots of one-liners to narrate the action and no pesky plot to screw it up. Except for that part about a politician who needs bone marrow harvested from infants. Think I’m kidding? But who needs plot anyway, when you can film Clive Owen saying “Eat your vegetables” while committing murder with a carrot? Yes, you read that right.

So. Anybody planning to hit the theaters for this one tomorrow?

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