Friday, December 28, 2007

Shoot 'Em Up

2007, US, directed by Michael Davis

Rating: **

With just under 90 minutes of frenetic over-the-top gunplay and stunt work, Shoot 'Em Up would like to think itself a throwback to the glory days of Hong Kong action films, right down to the hero carrying a baby as he blasts everything in sight. Although some of the set pieces are carried off with chutzpah, particularly the opening sequence when an apparently unremarkable bystander - Clive Owen - turns out to be a master with a weapon, the filmmakers unaccountably graft on a plot about, of all things, gun control. Director Michael Davis no doubt finds this extremely witty, along with his very literal mother/whore (Monica Bellucci) and a running joke wherein the ultra-violent villain (a remarkably poor shot when the plot requires) gets nagging phone calls from his wife. Like the high-octane Hong Kong movies on which it models itself, the film exists in a world completely divorced from the one we inhabit, with shootouts prompting not even passing police interest. It renders the average James Bond adventure surprisingly credible, and a lot less bloody.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States