DVD Review: Shoot Em Up

Shoot em up can be summed up in two words: Gratuitous violence. But what fun gratuitous violence it is. What we have here is a general outline of a plot whose purpose is to give us a setting for some of the crazier shootouts seen in recent years.

We start out with Mr. Smith, sitting on a park bench, eating a carrot. He is a looking a tad scruffy..who am I kidding? He looks one step above a homeless vagrant.

Anyway, he is sitting there when suddenly a very pregnant lady comes racing by with some Mcnasties in close pursuit.

Mr. Smith does what any good guy would do: He steps up and helps the lady in distress. A question: Have you ever seen a carrot used as a lethal weapon? If not, now is your chance.

A baby is born, but the mother does not survive. Mr. Smith now finds himself in possesion of a newly orphaned infant. He really has no time to ponder this as Hertz (Paul Giamatti in a wonderfully evil performance) and his crew of scumbags want the child. Mr. Smith, feeling that Hertz might not have the child’s best interests at heart, chooses not to relinquish the child.

So now we have conflict. And with that, the bullets fly more than ever.

Oh yeah, the lovely Monica Bellucci comes on board aiding our Mr. Smith. This only seems fair, since Hertz has a veritable army of slime doggies obeying his every whim. I should point out that the army shrinks seemingly by the minute as Mr. Smith proves to be more than just a pretty face.

Folks looking for subtlety might well want to stay home; there is none of that here. As a matter of fact, I feel comfortable saying that if a character were to shows signs of being subtle, he would likely get his head blown off. That kind of behavior will not be tolerated here! Fans of Sin City will likely have a blast. Actually, Sin City might be a perfect litmus test. Because I can certainly see those that disliked Sin City not making to the end of Shoot ‘Em Up.

Shoot ‘Em Up is a ridiculously violent film that both emulates and satirizes the hyper-violent action film genre. They don’t simply cross the line; they start on that side of the line and go from there. Remember some of the insane stuff with Bugs Bunny? That actually came to mind while viewing the carnage and mayhem wrought here. Of course it may simply have been the carrots.

Watching this, you are not quite sure if they were serious or simply having fun.

I am betting it is the latter.

We start off with a commentary track from director Michael Davis. Davis does an excellent job here, delivering anecdotes with passion and enthusiasm. He touches on both the technical aspects of making the film (as one could imagine, many of the scenes took quite a bit of prep work) and the more personal side (Davis provides some fun tales about Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Monica Bellucci) as well.

Also included here are some deleted scenes, some storyboards, and Ballet of Bullets. BoB is a 55 minute documentary that is interesting, but it covers much of the same material as the director’s commentary, except with comments from the cast and crew.

As I said before, Shoot em Up is a great fun, a veritable smorgasbord of gratuitous violence and mayhem.

Jeremy Lynch
For more reviews from myself, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.