Shoot ‘Em Up (7/10); Overdue Rumors and News

So I thought I’d do a double whammy – post my Shoot ‘Em Up review in one post while also going through a news item I missed since I last posted.

Shoot ‘Em Up (7/10)

Let me describe my return to the multiplex after a month and a half hiatus like this: in the first few minute the main character kills a man by shoving a carrot through his mouth and out the back of his skull. Yes, it’s THAT kind of movie. Shoot ‘Em Up is this year’s Snakes on a Plane, only better. A grotesque film that blatantly obviously panders to every single secret desire moviegoers have deep down inside: to see some blood fly, and screw all that plot and character development. Shoot ‘Em Up has absolutely zero value as a character study, a love story, or even a really very interesting good guy bad guy relationship. It seems that phrase, “over-the-top” was almost tailor made to fit this film. With a title like “Shoot ‘Em Up”, one would guess that it doesn’t leave much to the imagination, and in this case, that’s a good thing.

The film begins with the main character sitting on a bench munching a carrot. A pregnant woman stumbles by, followed by a stalker with a gun. Rolling his eyes, the perfectly chosen Clive Owen mumbles, “F***,” and heads off to save the woman. Minutes later the said carrot is implanted in the baddie’s skull as Owen (Mr. Smith) rushes forward to try to catch up to the next action scene, carrying the successfully delivered baby in tow, which he takes to the only woman he believes can help him take care of it – DQ, the prostitute with the heart of gold, unimpressively played by the otherwise talented Monica Belucci, whose best moment in the film occurs while having sex with Clive Owen in the midst of a gun battle. Yes, it’s THAT kind of film.

Shoot ‘Em Up purports to be some kind of high-minded satire, a play on American’s need and want to see blood spatter and bullets fly, but don’t be fooled. Shoot ‘Em Up is much more of an homage than a parody, never really once making fun of the violence, but always glorifying it, with each hilariously jaw-dropping scene outdoing the one before it. Shoot ‘Em Up won’t have you laughing AT the violence, it will have you cheering for more. And though there are plenty of very creatively done moments of violence, it never goes as far as it could have – the film never quite reaches the zenith attained by its first carrot-in-the-head stunt. Sure, it’s exhilarating, and you’ll be laughing your head off every couple of minutes, but it’s never quite the same. And besides, satire/parody is always walking a very fine line, and Shoot ‘Em Up never keeps that line. If, to qualify as a satire, all you had to do would be to make the exact same kind of action drivel made in every other movie. Sure, the action is more creative than usual in Shoot ‘Em Up, but it’s not any more a parody than Live Free or Die Hard. These days, every action movie is a parody of the genre, so something else must be done to raise itself above the norm, and Shoot ‘Em Up does nothing to claim it’s a better satire than all the rest.

Aside from Monica Belucci, the other two main characters, Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti, do their work remarkably well. Giamatti seems to have taken lessons from every ridiculously over-the-top-but-still-fun

villain in movie history, relishing every single line he’s given with oomph and gusto. Clive Owen plays Mr. Smith like the bastard child of John McClane and James Bond, a wise-talking, cynical motherf***er who doesn’t take crap from anybody, but will still stop to save a baby and have sex with its erstwhile mother. Yup, it’s THAT kind of movie.

Normally my reviews are a lot longer than this, but there ain’t much to analyze here, folks. A bunch of people run around with guns and get killed the ridiculously talented main character who happens to be protecting a baby. If you think there’s much more to Shoot ‘Em Up than that, you probably shouldn’t go to see it anyway

The Passing of a Grand Master

If I ever have one hundredth influence that she had as an author, I will die a happy man. Madeleine L’Engle, the great fantasy author of A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door, died at age 88. I hadn’t read much of her work, just Many Waters, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and the previous two mentioned. All enthralled me from beginning to end. Her influence on my as a person and as a writer will last.

I’ll post more rumors later or tomorrow. Bye all.

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