I have been about to title my review in the same way that my colleague Beatriz did with hers, putting that “do you know what I hate the most?” that Clive Owen looses so much in ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’. Yesterday I went to the cinema to see something fun, entertaining, circus cinema, show. You know, just hang out. I also wanted to see ‘In the spotlight’ (what a translation) and then I connected the dots without excessive difficulty. But the shot backfired on me.
I left the cinema yawning and thinking, once again, that to have a good time in the cinema, the important thing is a well-narrated story, even if it is a dense drama that perhaps at first you don’t want to see (for example, the extraordinary ‘Cassandra’s Dream ‘). It has happened to me that I have watched a movie being tired and at so many in the morning, but when the product is good, the circumstances take a back seat, and vice versa (right, Alberto?). To paraphrase Mr. Smith’s ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’, What I hate the most is leaving the cinema unsatisfied, thinking that I was wrong, that I should have gone to another, that they have promised me fun and I have been sovereignly bored; In short, there are very clumsy people directing movies and I have fallen into the trap. Too bad you can’t really go around shooting with impunity. And that raw carrots taste so bad.
The first shot of the film introduces us to Mr. Smith, the most angry and tough man in the world, who, due to circumstances, has to take care of a newborn child. When Smith helps deliver the baby in the middle of a gunfight, he soon discovers that there is someone very powerful who can afford to send as many criminals as necessary to accomplish the proposed goal: murder the baby. Smith will have to face Hertz, the leader of the entire army of anonymous assassins.
Written and directed by Michael Davis, ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’ purports to be his own vision (or version) of the Heroic Bloodshed, whose best example, it seems to me, is found in the magnificent duo formed by John Woo and Chow Yun-Fat, behind and in front of the cameras, respectively. It is said that comparisons are odious and this is even more true in the case at hand. Owen’s character doesn’t have the charisma of Chow in ‘The Killer’ nor does Davis get as powerful action sequences as those in ‘A Better Tomorrow’, to mention just a couple of examples. It’s not worth the “it’s just one of shots” thing; It’s not worth it because there are titles that are just that, that only pretend to entertain with action and bullets, but they take care of fundamental aspects. Which is not done here.
Davis can be skilled (he can, I repeat) imagining incredible, bizarre, exaggerated situations, where a guy shoots a bunch of dummies (or whatever). But that must be captured properly in a film, integrating it into a story, even if it is very simple, and trying to allow the viewer to have their fast-paced duel between a charismatic “good guy” and an equally interesting “bad guy”; not to forget the usual romance between the “good guy” and the girl he normally has to save. In short, you have to tell, narrate, something. And you have to have the talent to plan a spectacular shooting and that it does not turn out to be a mere goop put there so that we can see quick shots of specialists receiving impacts on the body; the sequence that takes place in the sky is one of the most ridiculous I’ve seen in this genre in a long time. It is also necessary to put a little (or a lot, depending on the subject’s ability) of effort into the dialogues and not blurt out the first nonsense that comes to mind. Bad jokes and catchphrases are fine, if they’re used well, occasionally, but filling the whole movie with just that is absurd.. Some lines of embarrassment. I guess I missed getting drunk before going to the movies.
As for the cast, obviously the trio of aces stands out with which the film will manage to deceive quite a few people. The poster is headed by one of the new movie stars, clive owen, who seems to me a very talented actor. However, here in ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’is very bland, fault of an unfortunate script. Basically, he just puts on a straight face and twists his body to shoot everywhere. In fact, when he speaks he could be saying anything, because at no time does he seem to believe what he’s doing. Harry Potter next to him is the height of expressiveness. Not much better is the work of my dear Paul Giamatti, undervalued actor where there are. In the film he plays a supposedly very intelligent guy, with a very bad aim, who can’t stand his wife and goes crazy when he sees the elusive Mr. Smith in front of him. The typical cartoon villain who only serves to make the good guy look pissed off. I like when he starts laughing like a psychopath or when he says that “violence is one of the funniest shows”, and I stop counting; overacting and no spark, Giamatti is totally expendable here. Lastly, note that if Monica Bellucci weren’t, at his age, so spectacularly well physically, yes left over. And with that it seems to me that everything is said. They needed an explosive woman and they chose her. Spot. I don’t understand how she was interested in doing this, I don’t think she lacks work. Of course, her work is one of the worst in the film and her dialogues seem to have been written by some fifteen-year-old “geek” who started watching movies two years ago.
It’s a pity that they spent so little time taking care of the script (I mean the story and the characters, I clarify) and so much thinking about how to shoot more specialists in totally incredible scenes. Because ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’ is a boring pointless salad shots, without grace, without strength, which wastes two good actors and a beautiful woman who, when she wants to (and is directed well) can also act. This Bugs Bunny shooting left and right doesn’t have the same effect on the viewer as it does on his victims. A very bad movie.