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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Movie Review - Shoot 'Em Up

Disclaimer: If you don't like stylistic, improbable violence, silly catch phrases and body counts nearing triple digits then stop reading now. This movie is not for you. If you're a fan of John Woo before he met John Travolta and came to Hollywood, keep reading.

This movie can be summed up easily: 1) Clever scene set-up. 2) Clever action sequence with lots of dead bad guys 3) Clever punchline. Now, do all that repeatedly for 90 minutes - but instead of doing it in a glossy, hyper explosive Michael Bay way, do it in a quirky, off-center indie film way. That's the movie. Want something even shorter? It's the bizarro Bourne Identity. Just as hyper-kinetic, but instead of gritty realism, you get loopy fantasy.

The plot is convoluted, improbable and superfluous, frankly. It's like a good porn script in that it gets itself out of the way quickly in favor of the action. All in all, I thought the film was good fun and has 4-5 sequences that are still pretty vivid in my mind several days later. This may be because of the performances of Clive Owen (the hero), Monica Bellucci (the perpetually lactating prostitute - so cliche) and the tasty villain, Paul Giamatti (one mean dude with glasses and comb-over). Oh yeah, and there's a baby at the center of this whole mess to heighten the sense of peril. It worked for me.

In short, this movie does for action films what Evil Dead 2 did for 80's horror flicks. It brings irreverence and fun to tired cliche. Want Art? Move on. Want Realism? Try the Discovery Channel. Wanna kick back with a few beers and watch a movie version of basically every first person shooter video game? This is it. I liked it.

Rating: 3 out of 5 possible couches.