Reader’s Recommendations: “Shoot ‘Em Up”

shoot_em_up_ver4Hey everyone, it’s Friday, time for another entry in the Reader Recommendations series!

The Reader Recommendation series is intended to help me formally pursue all the great films that commenters bring up each week in discussion which I’ve never seen. If there’s a movie that comes up that I haven’t seen, but you think I should, email me @ or let me know in the comments that you’d like to participate!

RyanThis time up, our recommendation comes from Ryan Miller of Rhino’s Horror, who’s recommended “Shoot ‘Em Up”, starring Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Monica Bellucci. It sounds pretty off the wall from what I’ve seen and read, so I’m excited to check it out!

Click through to see what we had to say!

My questions in bold, Ryan’s answers below!

1) Do you remember when you first saw the movie?

Back in 2007. I worked at a theater so I got to see it the night before it came out. Everyone thought it was going to be shit so my good friend and I were the only employees to actually show up and watch it. Joke’s on them!

2) Why do you think that it’s recommendable? What do you like about it?

It’s the ultimate action flick. It has everything we love about action films rolled up into one insane movie. What more do you need? What I love about the film is that I can basically turn my brain off for an hour and a half and watch some ridiculous entertainment. Also, Paul Giamatti is an amazing villain.

3) Is the movie underappreciated, do you think? Or does pop culture have it fairly rated?

Shoot ‘Em Up has been treated pretty fairly over the years I’d say. It’s not a hard movie to like. He kills a guy with a carrot in the first few minutes of the film! Eat your vegetables kids!

4) Is there any particular reason you thought I should watch it, or were you just surprised I hadn’t seen it?

I thought you should check it out because everyone likes a good action flick right? I thought you’d appreciate it’s fun violence and utterly insane action sequences. And everyone needs to see Giamatti in this movie at least once, he’s that good!

5) Have you written about the movie yourself? (Insert plug here! LOL )

I sure haven’t. It needs zombies and demons and all that jazz to find a comfy spot on my blog.

Thanks Ryan, my review is below!


“Shoot ‘Em Up” opens with an outrageous shoot out set to Nirvana’s “Breed”. After Clive Owen kills a man with a carrot, he winds up delivering a baby. I immediately was like, “Hell yeah!” LOL. This movie instantly introduces itself as an over the top action film with a sense of humor about itself, and I, for one, can appreciate that!

Owen plays Smith, a homeless ex-black ops specialist who gets pulled into a violent situation after seeing a pregnant woman being threatened by a man with a gun. When he fails to protect her and she’s killed, he’s left with her newborn baby. The gang of crooks who killed the woman want the baby dead, too, however, so Smith is put on the run. He seeks the help of a prostitute (Monica Bellucci) who specializes in lactation, and together the three of them go on the lam.

Can Smith keep the baby alive? And why do these criminals want the baby dead to begin with?

Paul Giamatti plays a violent crime boss trying to hunt the baby. He’s gleefully chewing scenery here, the type of villain who shoots his own henchman, that sort of thing. Yet he’s still taking calls from his wife and trying to pick out birthday cards for his son. He and Owen have a humorous cat and mouse, with Giamatti alternately frustrated by and admiring of Owen’s character. It’s a fun adversarial relationship, and Giamatti makes a great villain. Owen is a stoic, unstoppable tough guy, focused on the task at hand.

The action and dialogue here are all intentionally played fast and loose in order to keep the ludicrous factor high. Owen dispatches with hundreds of henchmen, shooting on the run, sliding on his back, and rappelling down the center of a stairwell. At one point, he jumps off of a bridge, shoots the sunroof out of a car below, and lands in the driver seat. There’s cool scenes like Owen explaining what a gun is to a smiling newborn, remotely operating a string of guns set up with string like a deadly puppeteer, and a skydiving shootout set to AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood (You Got It)”. Plus, any movie that puts Motörhead in its soundtrack alright in my book.

It’s a fast paced, action packed film that doesn’t take anything seriously. It’s not the highest caliber movie, but I certainly enjoyed watching it! Thanks Ryan, nice pick!



46 thoughts on “Reader’s Recommendations: “Shoot ‘Em Up”

    • It’s kind of an action comedy, I think Kate… right? Kind of like Shaun of the Dead is a horror comedy. Certainly it’s not supposed to be taken straight up seriously, like say, Die Hard! 😀

  1. Hi, Ryan and Fogs:

    Nice dialogue and dissertation!

    “Hey, everybody. Let’s make a movie!”

    “Bankable actor as the hero?”… “Check, kind of.”
    “Plausible plot line?”…. “Ummm… okay!”
    “Decent on location cinematography?”… “If you say so.”
    “Just starting out, though shows great potential villain?… “Absolutely!”
    “Access to a LOT of firearms and ammunition?”… “The fix is in!”

    “Okey Dokey….. ROLL ‘EM!”

    A rollicking, well choreographed and executed Good Time!

    • LOL. ACTUALLY, that’s EXACTLY how the pitch meeting for this one went. LOL. Funny stuff, man. They definitely did shoot a lot of shit up. I guess with a name like “Shoot ‘Em Up”, you’ve got to!! 😯

      • The pitch meeting for its title would have gone long into the night.

        They could have called the film ‘Surrogate Psycho Dad’. But would have been scared of being sued by Fox and ‘Married, with Children’.

        Besides, ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’ just plain WORKS!

  2. An OK movie. Not as clever as it thinks it is. And when it comes to killing guys while having sex, I think “Drive Angry” has the edge on this movie.

    • HA! That’s where I had seen that scene before! (And a couple other places too, at least, I’m sure!)

      It was fun. I mean, there’s no way to take it seriously, but I had fun with it. 😉

  3. Ha! This movie is on my list of movies I don’t really tell people I love. Or not until I know them really well….like Boondock Saints….I just want to make sure people won’t think I’m crazy when I tell them how much fun it is. Shoot ’em Up was awesome and cheesy. So cheesy. Like when they insult one another by shooting up the sign….dude. So bad.
    Glad you saw it and liked it.

    • That’s a good recommendation… unfortunately, the only reason I can say that is I’ve seen it! Keep your eyes peeled, I’m sure you’ll come across something I haven’t seen that you would recommend! 😀

  4. Shoot Em Up is so much fun. How often the whole “do you know what I hate?” comes to mind after watching it. Mindless, over-the-top, and probably the most aptly named movie ever.

  5. If you go with it, it’s plenty fun. John Woo would have been proud of the action set-pieces. Action isn’t normally my genre but I did go along for the ride on this one.

  6. Did they take this too far? They took it farther than too far. The only thing that would push it farther is if Liesley Nielsens’ Frank Drebin came out of the shadows and started shooting. A fun, tongue-in-cheek, lampoon of “Shoot Em Ups”.

    • I think “taking it too far” is the name of the game here, yeah. No doubt. And there were times when it felt almost spoof movie-ish, too. “Fun” is the operative word, though, I definitely enjoyed it. Glad to hear you did too!

  7. This is a great, fun, crazy completely gonzo action flick, with one fatal flaw…

    How the hell do you have a great fun crazy gonzo action flick with Monica Belluci as a prostitute and NOT have her naked at least one? I mean seriously, it was like a sick joke! They even had (as I recall) an insane sex scene where he’s killing people WHILE making love, and they still dont show even a little boobie? I mean, Boobies are Monica Belucci’s stock in trade, no? 😉

    Anyway, I love this flick. Good Call.

    • LOL. Glad you still enjoy the flick even if it came up woefully short in the topless quotient for you. I just think she may have been getting a little old for that sort of thing. Not that she’s not gorgeous still, but she was ~ 43 at the time of that movie.

  8. The epitome of satire is the stairwell scene you mentioned with all the dudes in black running up the stairs. Brilliant. I seriously don’t know how anyone with a serviceable action movie I.Q. can dislike this movie.

  9. I love this film, the carrots always made me laugh…and Clive Owen is a beautiful man.
    Great post!
    I can’t think of any recommendations, but this brought Children of Men to mind, as that’s another Clive Owen action film

  10. Pingback: » Movie Review – The Raid: Redemption Fernby Films

  11. Camping with Clive and Paul. I thought the baby sequences were a bit tasteless. The over the top stuff was fun as hell. It’s been a while, I should revisit. When camping like this I don’t mind being intense. (Feel free to grown, it was all I had).

    • No groaning… I didn’t mind the baby stuff though. Kind of shocked me when they ran it over though! Of course, it turned out to be animatronic. I wonder where Owen’s character pulled that out of. Still, funny just for Giamatti’s victorious reaction anyways. LOL 😀

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