Shoot ‘Em Up Michael Davis

Shoot ‘Em Up Michael Davis

It’s hard to take action seriously these days. Take this sorry excuse for a John Woo rehash for instance. You’ve got the "anti-hero who looks and acts like a derelict but who cares because he’s a god with a handgun” (Clive Owen), the deranged villain out for his money (Paul Giamatti), the visually stimulating dame with no lines (Monica Bellucci), strobe-like, headache-inducing editing and enough bullets to flood a small Persian village. Oh, and there’s a plot too. Basically, Owen’s predictably angst-ridden character with a dark past spends an hour-and-a-half playing John Wayne on speed trying to protect a baby with a bounty on its head, placed by a dirty, two timing politician — no way! And it’s all supposed to be "artsy,” because just as Crank and Smokin’ Aces tried to prove, today’s brand of eye-candy action needs more sugar. You know, a little more accoutrement for the movie mind that’s seen everything. It’s simple: just splash some awkward Warhol colours here, add a little abject blood spatter there, toss in some recycled one-liners, speed things up randomly, à la Ritchie, everywhere and voila, you get the visual action movie equivalent of that pop song Chris Martin did with Jay Z. What’s sadder is the waste of this classy cast. Surely a Giamatti/Owen team-up might sound failsafe but ultimately, you’d find more character depth in a Tom and Jerry cartoon. And just when you think this film couldn’t possibly take the cheesy cake, Giamatti’s character lets out a "fuck me sideways” at the climax because his target just escaped and somehow, amidst the blazing gunfire and explosions, Napa Valley is still on the mind. Truly odious stuff to make you throw up in your mouth. Not even the bonus features, with dreary deleted scenes and uninspired director commentary, can save this from being destined for dust collection. If you want high octane, guns galore fun that won’t make you stupider by the second, rent Lethal Weapon. (Alliance Atlantis)