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Mysterious loner Mr Smith(Clive Owen) is minding his own business one night, chomping one of his signature carrots, when a pregnant woman runs by, chased by a gunman. He fends of the gunman - and a whole mob of other ones - while helping to deliver the baby. After the shootout, he's left holding the baby ... which seems to be the target of determined criminal Hertz (Paul Giamatti). He recruits - with some difficulty - the gorgeous Donna Quintano (Monica Bellucci), a gal from a high class bordello, to help with the baby, but Hertz hires a gang of muscle and goes after them. Mr Smith wants to know why.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
He can have a shootout with a dozen or more men while carrying a baby, but that's nothing. He can do it while doing it with Monica Bellucci, rolling over and over as he fires again and again. His handgun that is. Shoot'em Up, as the title implies, is a shoot'em up kinda film, with larger than life characters in cartoonish gunfights and a laconic sense of humour laced with bravado. Mr Smith (Clive Owen) is the man without a name who has a past and a track record. He also carries carrots, which make effective weapons in the right hands, and his are the right hands. (He eats some, too.)

Clive Owen is ideally cast as the likeable loner (with a tragedy in his past, of course) whose self defence and killing efficiency is declared with deadpan delivery. Paul Giamatti is great fun - and has great fun - as Hertz, who tells bad jokes and quotes bits of scientific information while masterminding the chase for the ultimate baddie, arms manufacturer Hammerson (Stephen McHattie).

Plenty of action, often with audacious strategies and stunts, kills some time between scenes of Owen and Bellucci bonding in various ways. Oh, and by coincidence, there is a timely element in the screenplay: a Democratic Senator running for President, whose gun control proposals pissed off the arms manufacturers. Hammerson in particular. But there are many ways of skinning cats - as Smith discovers.

The film's big finish stunt outdoes even the old Bond stunts, as his big shootout is set in the sky - after he and the baddies dive out the Senator's plane with parachute paks and guns. It's so outrageous it's funny. As is the ending.

In his commentary, Michael Davis talks about wanting to set up an over the top John Woo-ish movie. He likes his movie, and the fun bits about the carrots, and the violent Looney Tunes quality. He goes on to mention all the things he likes about Smith's ingenuity, having to come up with inventive ways to get out of situations. As he says, he wanted to do all the fun things you can do with a gunfight.

Published: March 27, 2008

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(US, 2007)

CAST: Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Monica Bellucci, Stephen McHattie

PRODUCER: Rick Benattar, Susan Montford, Don Morphy

DIRECTOR: Michael Davis

SCRIPT: Michael Davis


EDITOR: Peter Amundson

MUSIC: Paul Halsinger


RUNNING TIME: 83 minutes

SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by Michael Davis; Deleted/alternate scenes; Ballet of Bullets (Making of); animatics; trailer


DVD RELEASE: January 2, 2008

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