I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Vern Vs. SHOOT ‘EM UP!

SPOILER ALERT !!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

Perhaps the single most important piece of film criticism we’ll publish this month. You don’t have to like me or Harry in any way to love Vern. He’s always been one of the most distinct voices we publish here, and there are certain films where I look forward to his opinion in particular.

I know a lot of you wanted to read a HALLOWEEN review from him, and he’s published one at his fantastic world-famous blog now. But I think it’s more important to be able to present his review of the film by Michael Davis that we’ve been talking about for a while now. Vern’s a stubborn, passionate fan of action films, and I knew that he’d approach this movie wide open to it. Seems like he really got it, too, enjoying it for any number of reasons and on several levels. This was a great read, Vern. Thanks for always raising the bar with each review.

We all know HARDBOILED is one of the greatest action movies of all time. This has been discussed, voted and agreed upon officially. But for all the time dedicated to honoring that movie, not much has been set aside for the HARDBOILED poster. Remember the first time you saw that, before you saw the movie? What more did you need to see? That simple, perfect, iconic image of Chow Yun Fat (whether you knew who he was then or not) holding a gun in one hand and a baby in the other – that should’ve been enough. It doesn’t tell you everything about HARDBOILED, but it tells you alot. The theory of badass juxtaposition at its most basic symbolic level – one man holding life and death. Good and evil. Innocence and violence. Machine and flesh. Yin and yang.

More importantly, the guy is holding a baby in one hand and a gun in the other. Forget what it means. Concentrate on what it is.

Shoot 'Em UpWell, that’s also what SHOOT ‘EM UP is. An entire movie based on the feelings you get looking at that poster. This one has Clive Owen instead of Chow Yun Fat (a worthy successor) and it’s a different baby (they tried to get the HARDBOILED baby but he wanted too much money). The movie has obvious references to Leone and Looney Tunes, and lots of bad puns like a Schwarzenegger movie, its influences are all over the place. But clearly the main one is John Woo, and specifically HARDBOILED. If director Michael Davis (writer of PREHYSTERIA 3) was a baby, John Woo would be carrying him during the shootout. But since he’s only a baby he doesn’t know what the fuck is going on. So the movie is John Woo not in substance or even in style, but in the simple fact that it’s a whole movie about a bad motherfucker carrying a baby while running around, shooting hundreds of people, sliding, swinging, rolling, dropping, flying, falling, catapulting, and, you know, carrying on. While shooting.

The movie is not a masterpiece. I say that only because I believe a movie like this COULD be a masterpiece. This one is not because the editing is too quick, the camera is generally too close to the action, the music is mostly cheesy, some of the oneliners are corny but not a good enough kind of corny, some of the running gags run too many times, some of the exposition of the deliberately convoluted storyline gets a little more clunky than is acceptable. In other words, this PREHYSTERIA 3 guy is no master yet. But the movie is a hell of alot of fun, I would be an asshole to dismiss it based on those flaws. I really enjoyed this movie.

Although it’s way more of a comedy and it’s about ten times sillier, the movie SHOOT ‘EM UP most reminded me of was TRANSPORTER 2. Because it’s action packed, it’s completely ridiculous, it wipes boogers on all matters of logic and science, it is not serious but pretends to be, and it’s less than 90 minutes so it gets in there, gets the job done and then hauls ass out the back door before you can say thank you. And leaves its empty beer bottles in your living room. But this one leaves more beer bottles than TRANSPORTER 2 does if the beer bottles are a metaphor for memorable gimmicks and acts of over-the-top violence. Which they are.

In case this is somehow the first you’ve heard of SHOOT ‘EM UP, I should probaly mention what it’s about. So I will describe the opening, which is a classic. Our nameless hero sits on a bus stop bench eating a carrot. Suddenly a pregnant woman runs by, clutching her stomach as if going into labor. He glances over, mildly curious at best. Then a car tears around the corner and crashes, its driver yelling that he’s going to kill her. He gets out, runs after her, asks our carrot-eater what the fuck he’s looking at. Before the guy turns the corner he pulls out a gun.

And Clive has to think about it for a little bit before he admits to himself that he should try to help her. And then he says, “Fuck.” The definition of a reluctant hero.

Of course he turns out to have black ops training, skills inherited from his father, a meaningful traumatic incident in his past, and every other cliche you would want him to have. (If I were you I would see the movie without reading on, because I’m gonna spoil just a couple of the gags. There are plenty to go around, but still.) So in this opening he winds up shooting an army of killers while simultaneously delivering the baby. And then he shoots off the umbilical cord. Can you believe that? At that point I was sold on the movie, and fortunately I did not find that I had bought a lemon. The movie delivers on the opening scene’s promise.

Gorgeous frenchwoman Monica Belluci plays the female lead (a lactating hooker, of course) and Academy Award loser Paul Giamatti gets to be the lead hitman. I bet he hasn’t fired that many guns in all of his previous movies combined times ten. Including THE HAWK IS DYING and the one where Frankie Muniz paints him blue.

Belluci and Giamatti are enjoyable, but the movie is almost entirely fueled by two things: Clive Owen’s grimacing, angry presence (alot like his character in SIN CITY, except with his real accent) and a constant barrage of preposterous action ideas and jokes. Again, I hate to give anything away at all but I will give you just three examples in case you’re not sold.

1. He’s hiding in a public restroom with the baby. But he’s trying to take a bite out of his carrot and he drops his piece in the toilet. So, while a gunman approaches, he leaves the baby on the floor and uses the diaper changing station to take his gun apart and clean it piece by piece.

(There are many classic restroom fights in cinema, and I am still hoping to see one where the hero washes his hands afterwards. I thought this might finally be the one but no dice.)

2. In a gun factory he duct-tapes guns to various shelves and sets up a complex system of strings and pulleys which he uses like marionettes to take out a platoon of henchmen.

3. Remember in DIE HARD Bruce had no shoes on, then in LAST MAN STANDING he tried to up the ante by getting attacked while having sex with Judd Apatow’s wife and having to shoot a bunch of guys while still naked. Well, Clive raises the bet by being involved in a shootout WHILE STILL PENETRATING Monica. And in fact he choreographs his movements and perhaps even the vibrations of his gun shots for maximum sexual performance. We can only pray this scene does not inspire people the way Marlon Brando’s butter did. Maybe the movie should have a disclaimer like cigarettes or JACKASS.

Now imagine dozens more gimmicks like those crammed into an 80-some minute lighthearted but bloody-as-all-get-out movie. It’s full of all kinds of shit like that. The only thing that would be better would be if it was not actually meant to be funny. It is trying to be funny, but oh well. It achieves its goal.

I gotta be honest, I will be disappointed if this does not become a series. Like I said the director is not a master, but I’d like to see what he’d do with a little more money and an established universe and audience. I think it will happen, because I think it’s gonna be a real sleeper. Of course, I’m terrible at judging those kinds of things, and I do know alot of people would say it was “stoopid.” But the particular audience I saw it with laughed all throughout and applauded at about 3 or 4 different points, all well-earned. If you love guns, or if you are like Clive’s character and you hate guns, then this is the movie for you.

thanks,
Vern

Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/33906

View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 5:17 a.m. CST

    You had me at “penetrating Monica”

    by CeeBeeUK

    I’m there

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 5:17 a.m. CST

    When Geeks Get Too Geeky

    by heywood jablomie

    “The movie this reminded me most of is Transporter 2.” Uh, yeah, I stopped reading right there.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 5:20 a.m. CST

    Ahhh Monica.

    by Redfive!

    Yes the most beautiful women in the world playing a hooker,getting penerated and lacktating indeed sounds like a good time at the movies.Too bad they dont serve milk there…id take a large glass.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 5:23 a.m. CST

    Vern, about your Halloween-review:

    by DerLanghaarige

    Expect an e-mail from me. :)

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 5:32 a.m. CST

    I was excited about this movie

    by Rei-Ginsei

    Until Vern compared it to Transporter 2. I enjoyed Transporter 1 a lot, and when I saw the previews for Transporter 2 I made sure to catch it opening weekend. Sadly, the fight with the fire hose was the closest they got to being as cool as the first one – and I saw that in the preview. When he’s swinging around on the beaded curtain in the end fighting that blonde chick? Yeah, that was the nail in the coffin for me. At least Crank had Amy Smart getting bent over in front of a bus full of Japanese girls…

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 5:49 a.m. CST

    A LOT. A LOT. A LOT. A LOT. A LOT.

    by ByTor

    Seriously, Vern. I love your reviews. They’re amongst my favorites here at AICN. But “alot” IS NOT A WORD. If you’re going to, y’know, write for a living, you should be aware of that.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 6 a.m. CST

    Alot

    by Alientoast

    Just give it up. Alot is so frequently used it has all but officially become correct usage, much like how they made “irregardless” a correct usage after hundreds of millions used it!

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 6:01 a.m. CST

    I think he does it on purpose

    by FILMFUNK

    Just for you Bytor
    good review Vern i will see this with my Crank head on.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 6:11 a.m. CST

    Maybe this flick will succeed where SOAP failed

    by Mullah Omar

    Meaning: if you start with a completely over-the-top premise, then you damn well better follow through by making a completely over-the-top movie. Also meaning: no more bait and switch. I hope this flick pulls it off, and by pretty much all accounts, it’s sounding like it did.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 6:17 a.m. CST

    You mean Italian, not French – right?

    by Heleno

    Or is Bellucci (the clue’s in the name) like Marge Simpson – when she marries, she takes her husband’s DNA and nationality?

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 6:18 a.m. CST

    Read the review of the Warriors

    by ButtfuckZydeco

    At the end. The part about helping the yuppies.

    I’ve finally come around. Vern’s the best writer going around here

    This comes after reading McWeeney’s review of the Moon flick, where I had the ghost of the first paragraph in my head as I clicked the link the same way you kinda hear the upcoming song before it kicks in on a CD you’ve listened to 1000 times, and then reading that Vern bit.

    Time to admit the obvious.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 6:47 a.m. CST

    You had me at “lactating hooker.”

    by Pound Sand

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 7:09 a.m. CST

    love Vern’s reviews but …

    by Windowlicker74

    hate Mori’s idolizing intros that always have to precede them. We know Vern is cool, McWeeny.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 7:12 a.m. CST

    Vern, HUGE gap in logic…

    by Abin Sur

    Even for a movie like this, there is no way that Monica Belucci is pregnant at the start of the movie and is then getting “penetrated” by Clive Owen later on unless AT LEAST three months have passed. Or she had a caesarian. I know – I checked with my wife.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 7:20 a.m. CST

    Gotta see it now..

    by TELF

    I really thought this was gonna be SOAP all over again. But I trust Vern and feel fully primed by this review to enjoy the movie.
    Now will Vern’s Special Ability make Clive Owen appear on these very boards? Better get some questions ready just in case…

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 7:21 a.m. CST

    Or…

    by Abin Sur

    Is Monica not the preggo? I guess that makes sense too.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 7:35 a.m. CST

    There’s a number of things wrong with that review

    by mossad77

    The most obvious one has already been pointed out – Monica Belucci is Italian, not French. Yeah she’s been in a few French movies but that’s no excuse. Secondly…how can you possibly tell us this film is like Hard-Boiled, a truly great action film…and then say that it’s most like The Transporter 2, a pile of CACK?!? I am so NOT there.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 8:12 a.m. CST

    Transporter? eww

    by Trooperof3

    I hoped this would be reminded of Hardboiled not Transporter 2. that sucks. but i already have the poster on my wall. i can’t wait

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 8:15 a.m. CST

    Another chaotic review

    by PlasmaOrb

    I hate these people who are friends with Harry and got a job ranting about a movie before it comes out, but they cant make a decent review to save their life. They say they hate, then they say they like, then they dispise it, then its brillant and hope they make more and cant wait to see it again and more psycho babble that makes no sense.

    PLAIN AND SIMPLE… you either like it or you dont, stop being wishy washy or as our so called elustrious leader has stammered on about… a FLIP FLOPPER.

    I think Verns old job was writing manuals for Sauder furniture, cause his reviews and those instructions are both confusing and fucked up.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 8:22 a.m. CST

    PlasmaOrb

    by DocPazuzu

    Did you just type “elustrious”?

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 9 a.m. CST

    Re: Restroom Fights

    by WickedMonster

    “There are many classic restroom fights in cinema, and I am still hoping to see one where the hero washes his hands afterwards. I thought this might finally be the one but no dice.”

    ?Hey Vern, are you forgetting the opening sequence of CASINO ROYALE? </p>

    Bond washes his hands after beating the crap out of that guy in the restroom.</p>

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 9:01 a.m. CST

    MiraJeff

    by sevenrivera

    Looks like Vern got another one on the left hand column? How does that make you feel? Where’s the “24 year old with a brain” on this one?

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 9:15 a.m. CST

    seconding what heleno said

    by ironic_name

    also, i wanted this movie when i was 19, now.. it’ll be like the matrix, mouthbreathers and hicks will love it, so it won’t be as exclusive.

    may get the dvd, but will prefer itto ogami and son’s adventures.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Transporter 2

    by B0D

    Was a great movie, what’s wrong with you people? I bet some of you morons end up whining about how Shoot ‘Em Up was “too unrealistic”…

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 9:38 a.m. CST

    various

    by Vern

    Okay sorry about Belluci, that was just stupid. I shoulda said HONORARY Frenchwoman. I first knew her from French movies so I thought she was French, but she even speaks Italian in this one. Inexcusable.

    CASINO ROYALE huh? That one didn’t even occur to me because he washes his hands in a Lady Macbeth type of way not as an action joke about hygiene. But you’re right, that fits.

    PlasmOrb, I don’t want to be a jerk or anything, but your post indicates that you are a god damn idiot. I am not gonna come on here and say “I liked it!” or “I didn’t like it!” I am gonna write a review. You have horrible taste in reviews. You are asking for stupid, phony reviews by and for idiots. I am not your guy. Go away. And if you read that and couldn’t figure out if I liked it or not, you didn’t read it. Which you didn’t, because what you wrote there doesn’t match what I wrote at all. I still love you though. I am gonna train you up, teach you a few things and ultimately redeem you as a human being. You will even love and understand movies by the time I’m done with you. It’s gonna take 25 years but it’s gonna be worth it. Mark it on your calendar.

    As for TRANSPORTER 2 and HARDBOILED. SHOOT ‘EM UP is not like HARDBOILED in style or especially substance, I not only made that clear but specifically stated that. It is inspired by John Woo in its premise and over-the-top action. But like I said it’s more like the poster than the movie. The tone is closer to an even more cartoony TRANSPORTER 2, but even if you hated that one I think you could like this one, I think its goofiness will be more widely accepted.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 9:39 a.m. CST

    Oh yeah, and…

    by Vern

    Belluci, who is Italian, is not the pregnant woman at the beginning. She was recently pregnant but it’s not stated how recent.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 10:09 a.m. CST

    heheh good one

    by BMacSmith

    i think im ready for the Shoot Em Up / 3:10 to Yuma double feature

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 10:25 a.m. CST

    Vern reviews

    by RodneyOz

    Are always great. But what’s best is checking out the talkback list, waiting for that black box to make an appearance – and then YES! He’s responded. I can’t think of any other reviewer where I love reading his to and fro s much as the original text.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 10:34 a.m. CST

    Where’s Neil Cumpston’s(?) review?

    by ImMorganFreeman

    I think I fucked up his name, and no offense to Vern (it was a great review Vern). But this is the kinda movie I wanna know what Neil has to say.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 10:39 a.m. CST

    RodneyOz…

    by TELF

    I totally agree.
    I love his heroically positive ownings of naysaying chuckleheads everybit as much as the reviews themselves.

    The heart of a champion, he has.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Nice one, Vern.

    by raw_bean

    Especially your response to PlasmaOrb, I look forward to hearing from him when you’ve done rehabilitating him. At which point you’ll need to start on tailhook.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 11:08 a.m. CST

    Preggers

    by Biafras Throw Pillow

    If I had anything to do with it, Monica would be continuously pregnant, possibly all at the same time. I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands off her, but alas…

    Where’s the lotion?

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 11:09 a.m. CST

    What music do you listen to Vern?

    by messi

    I’m curious

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 11:14 a.m. CST

    VERN, WHO DO YOU THINK WILL WIN TOP CHEF?

    by BringingSexyBack

    Who do you think is hotter – Casey or Lia?

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 11:16 a.m. CST

    I stopped crushing on Bellucci after Irreversible

    by BringingSexyBack

    That was just a traumatic experience, just so gratuitously … French. And her lips are too big.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 11:18 a.m. CST

    Any assrape in Shoot Em Up?

    by BringingSexyBack

    No assrape = not hardcore enough.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 11:21 a.m. CST

    vern

    by maluquiro

    what would happen in a fight between han solo and darth vader?

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 11:26 a.m. CST

    You’re right MorganFreeman…

    by DocPazuzu

    …this movie simply screams Neill Cumpston!

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 11:27 a.m. CST

    More importantly…

    by Abin Sur

    What would happen in a fight between Willard Scott and Al Roker?

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 11:31 a.m. CST

    What would happen in a fight between Larry Craig

    by BringingSexyBack

    and Mark Foley?
    Assrape

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 11:38 a.m. CST

    neil cumpston

    by maluquiro

    is a hack!

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 11:40 a.m. CST

    abin sur

    by ironic_name

    bet on the negro, he will destroy willard’s ronald macdonald ass.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 11:42 a.m. CST

    Saw some footage at Comic-Con

    by Mattyboy122

    This looks like a blast. It really is cartoony, gleefully over-the-top in its homages to action movies. I haven’t seen Transporter 2, I heard it was terrible, but Shoot ‘Em Up seems to be intentionally absurd, whereas, from what I’ve heard, Transporter 2 was over-the-top but took itself seriously. But, like I said, I haven’t seen it, so I can’t say for sure, that’s just what I gather from what others have told me.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 11:52 a.m. CST

    vern

    by maluquiro

    what kind of deodorant do you use?

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Transporter 2 was intentionally

    by B0D

    over-the-top, but for some reason a lot of the audience took it seriously.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 12:56 p.m. CST

    This movie will inspire gang behavior among white kids

    by BringingSexyBack

    Avoid at all costs.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 12:58 p.m. CST

    What’s up with Clive Owen delivering babies?

    by white owl

    Really. btw another great review fromVern, and his beer bottle line is hilarious. “And leaves its empty beer bottles in your living room. But this one leaves more beer bottles than TRANSPORTER 2 does if the beer bottles are a metaphor for memorable gimmicks and acts of over-the-top violence. Which they are.”

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 12:58 p.m. CST

    Vern, since you grew up in the South

    by BringingSexyBack

    what’s your take on dog-fighting? Whoopi Goldberg says it’s a common thing. I’ve been to Virginia and North Carolina and have not seen any dog-fighting, just a lot of nice scenery.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 1:03 p.m. CST

    What would happen in a fight between Michael Vick

    by BringingSexyBack

    and Whoopi Goldberg?

    They wouldn’t – they let their dogs do their fighting. It’s a common thing, nothing wrong with it.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 1:04 p.m. CST

    Whoopi also said cockfighting is normal in Puerto Rico

    by BringingSexyBack

    Can any Puerto Ricans confirm that?

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 1:50 p.m. CST

    This is sounding more along the lines

    by skimn

    of that Marky Mark assasin flick The Big Hit, that was all over the map tonewise. But was fun in a goofy WTF kind of way.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 1:56 p.m. CST

    Dude, review Death Sentence.

    by losder

    You’ve sold me on the future, now sell me on the past!

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 2:11 p.m. CST

    A NEW WAY TO HAVE SEX!!!

    by ludmir88

    or a new meaning of the word BANG.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 2:17 p.m. CST

    “A Lot!”

    by Defunct Gamer

    “Just give it up. Alot is so frequently used it has all but officially become correct usage, much like how they made “irregardless” a correct usage after hundreds of millions used it!”

    Just because a lot of people spell it that way (because they don’t know any better) does NOT make it right. I’m sorry, but I don’t subscribe to the theory that if everybody does something it must be right. There IS a right spelling for “a lot” and it’s as two words, no one!

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 2:20 p.m. CST

    THIS IS A GOODLY REVIEW ALOT!!!!

    by BringingSexyBack

    Vern revew write very goodly!!!

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 3:02 p.m. CST

    heh

    by mrdinky

    “(There are many classic restroom fights in cinema, and I am still hoping to see one where the hero washes his hands afterwards. I thought this might finally be the one but no dice.)”

    nice.

    I’m disappointed that paul giamatti didn’t play well with you. he really looks like he’s having fun with his role in the previews. oh well. will see when I see.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 3:45 p.m. CST

    Crank Redux. This will flop.

    by TheDohDoh

    Crank is way overlooked and did this same stuff before Shoot Em Up. I hate the Transporter, but Crank was on the money for what it wanted to be.

    When I saw this trailer in the theatre people laughed like they wouldn’t care to even see it on DVD. Be warned, it’s a flop.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 3:47 p.m. CST

    @skimn

    by TheDohDoh

    Yep, when The Big Hit came out people were jocked it for its Woo-ian tendencies. Now, nobody fucking remembers it, not even Walberg. Same thing will happen with this. But I guess it’s better than Halloween, right guys? Not.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 4:09 p.m. CST

    TheDohDoh

    by TequilaMocking

    Remember that when this is playing at midnight shows for the next twenty years.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 4:47 p.m. CST

    Delivering baby during shoot out=ripping off Time&Tide

    by Bong

    No thanks…I’ll go watch the original HK actioners which films like ‘Shoot em Up’ rip off

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 4:48 p.m. CST

    Is this the REMO WILLIAMS : The Adventure Begins

    by mr.brownstone

    for the new millenium? Just wondering.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Good call placing this in Top Stories

    by SnowMann

    Whenever I see anything written by Vern, it’s the first headline I check on the site. Glad to see this in the top stories section where it belongs.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 6:06 p.m. CST

    Hope it’s better than Crank.

    by Ash Talon

    Crank was a complete let-down. It’s premise was great, but it didn’t live up to the promise of non-stop action. Crank had no action. There was a lame shoot-out at the end…and that was it. NO ACTION.

    Hopefully this is better. I couldn’t make it through Transporter, but oddly enough, I’ve been able to sit through Transporter 2. Guess I’ll watch anything in HD.

    Regarding “alot”. Who cares how it’s used? Also, who cares that irregardless has now become an official word. If enough people use a word, it becomes lexicon. Where do you think words come from? They’ve all been created by man at some point. Get over this idea that there has been some Master language from the dawn of time that have never had a word added.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 8:20 p.m. CST

    Shoot ‘Em Up vs. Crank

    by Vern

    I can see the comparison, but I really kind of hated CRANK while I liked this one. The biggest similarity is that they both have heroes who do impossible things while CGI freefalling at the end. But they have a very different style and a different tone for over-the-top action. This is more of a cartoon and although sometimes ridiculously violent its cruelty always seems like a joke, lighthearted, not serious in any way. I think the supposed “fun” of CRANK was a little tainted when he raped his girlfriend (played for laughs) and didn’t he cause a random Arab to get lynched by calling him al Quaeda? (I think I dozed off but somebody told me that happened in the movie.)

    More importantly though the style of the two movies is completely different. Like I said, SHOOT ‘EM UP does have some of the modern action weaknesses that I hate – too many quick edits and the camera is too close. But compared to CRANK those aspects are very tame, there’s none of the Avid farts and random jerkoff CGI whooshes and all that kind of hyperactive bullshit. To me it’s much more involving and easier to follow. The action is not literally non-stop but it’s pretty close. They stop to talk and zip through a basic mystery (which they solve with minimal concentration or effort) but for me it never seemed to lag.

    I seem to have turned alot of people off by mentioning TRANSPORTER 2. Fair enough. I really disliked the first TRANSPORTER but the second one was so quick and absurd I kind of loved it. Anybody who watches Statham flip his car and successfully detach a bomb from the undercarriage by hooking it on a crane and then thinks the movie is meant to be serious is not living in the same world I am. I was in tears laughing at that part and rewound it about 4 or 5 times. But that’s also what I liked about it, that they do pretend that it is a serious movie. SHOOT ‘EM UP keeps a straight face but not as convincing of one. It’s also more rewardingly ridiculous than TRANSPORTER 2 so I think it will be more popular. Also, ladies love Clive Owen.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 8:28 p.m. CST

    Beardo

    by Vern

    I don’t think the movie is anti-gun. They do bring gun manufacturers and gun control advocates into the plot, but there is nothing in this movie that seems meant to be taken seriously. Owen’s character claims to be against guns due to a past incident but he has a funny way of showing it. I think his stance is about as serious as Antonio Banderas throwing away his guitar case of guns at the end of DESPERADO. (Then picking it up “just in case”.)

    At worst, the so-called anti-gun elements might be an attempt to be more self conscious about gun violence than the violent movies of the ’70s and ’80s were. But I think it’s more likely just a matter that when you do a movie all about guns and call it SHOOT ‘EM UP it’s natural to work gun control into the plot.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 8:38 p.m. CST

    There should have been a scene where:

    by Bob Cryptonight

    He’s still holding the baby, to protect it, but also fucking some broad. It would’ve made about as much sense!

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 8:50 p.m. CST

    One thing that’s missing from modern action flicks

    by Neo Zeed

    Squibs. When someone gets shot blood should come out. It adds a gritty feel and separates it from run-of-the-mill- TV violence. How’s the squib work in this movie Vern? Or is it digital blood (which I’m not a fan of)? Or none/all of the above?

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 9:17 p.m. CST

    ByTor, you MIGHT be an idiot…

    by Bob Cryptonight

    …if you don’t GET (and also haven’t NOTICED) that Vern spells things his own way, MAKES UP words, and even states facts wrong ON PURPOSE! Try and keep up (and while you’re at it, buy his book and visit his website). Remember: Vern is a guy who has spent most of his life in and out of prison, and now that he has cleaned up his act, he is dedicated to writing about and reviewing “the Films of cinema.” Class dismissed.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 9:19 p.m. CST

    And that goes DOUBLE for you, PlasmaOrb…

    by Bob Cryptonight

    Friends of Harry writing reviews, eh? Jesus…

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 9:41 p.m. CST

    Transporter 1…

    by LeFlambeur

    …was a piece of shit. But Transporter 2 (with a different director) was markedly superior. Anyone who can’t recognize the difference shouldn’t be talking about movies. God knows I’m not arguing for masterpiece status here, but Transporter 2 was visually deft were the first one was sloppy and incompetent, silly where the other was stupid, and vigerous where the other was languid. It, along with Unleashed, (same director) was one of the better non-Hong Kong action films to emerge in recent years.

  • Sept. 5, 2007, 10:12 p.m. CST

    This sounds largely like crap but the setpieces sound

    by reflecto

    great. I might see it just for those. Beyond that, anything with Clive Owen and Lucy Liu together is like poison death – Clive is a great actor but he so often seems to make horrible career choices with dreck like this after every good film.

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 12:12 a.m. CST

    What these movies need to distinguish themselves…

    by Alfred_Packer

    ..is in the villain. Thats where I can see this movie topping those others is Paul Giamatti’s character, which does show promise in the trailers. Because let’s face it, when’s the last really good villain (human/non-cgi) in an action film?

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 12:34 a.m. CST

    Time And Tide did the baby and gun

    by AlwaysThere

    thing recently. That movie is very enjoyable. Shame that it sounds like Shoot Em Up misses the mark.

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 12:34 a.m. CST

    Lactating hooker!

    by oceanic86

    Vern = magic.

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 12:44 a.m. CST

    Transprter two is offensive

    by AlwaysThere

    to me because of how badly they took the hook from Man on Fire and condensed it into a 15 minute period of the film. It’s inclusion is out of place, random, and the action is ludicrous in a bad way. It’s not fun or interesting. The stuff with the car jumping in the parking structure, the bomb been picked off by the crane, the Air Force One-esque finale, all ridiculous and not entertaining. I would compare one scene from Charlie’s Angel’s: Full Throttle to Transporter 2, and that’s the scene with everyone flying aimlessly off the car that Demi Moore driving. Call me crazy if you want to, but that’s the only time in the movie where it crosses the line into absurdity.

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 1:01 a.m. CST

    oceanic86

    by AlwaysThere

    The lactating hooker line isn’t an original Vern thought. Don Murphy has discussed this as a selling point when hyping up this movie.

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 1:45 a.m. CST

    Clip of Sex Gunfight. You’re welcome.

    by acorvey25

    http://tinyurl.com/2flwhn

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 3:45 a.m. CST

    Just seen it!

    by Mace Tofu

    Stupid ? Yes. Was I entertained? Hell Yes! This was like the male version of the first Charlie’s Angels movie (I didn’t like the second). The people I went with did comment ” I haven’t seen that before ” quite a few times and they liked the over the top action scenes. It flew by so fast you didn’t have time to think too much and it played more like a Anime Cop show where crazy shit happens but it’s normal for that world. The only bitch we had as a group was “Where the fuck did he get that robot?!?” A NEW LINE rep said this was the final edit of the movie but wanted people to stay after and comment… I didn’t but overheard good buzz passing by them on the way out. Fun movie.

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 4 a.m. CST

    RE: gun control advocates

    by Mace Tofu

    In the movie they are shown with Baby Poo on their face and they get shot in the head so I do not think the movie was pro gun control. Guns are used in clever ways even in the last scene to solve the heros problems, even without a gun the hero makes his own handgun in a scene David Cronenberg would be proud of lol.

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 4:17 a.m. CST

    HEROES RE: shuttlepod” Is there a lot of shooting!..

    by Mace Tofu

    ..But no one gets seriously hurt? ” People get fucked up and die. Guys get shot in the balls and blood sprays out ( not sure if it was CGI) Lot O’ Blood. Bad guy gets 50 hit men to help him and ask if that is all and sure enough they were not enough lol Send more Hitmen!

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 5:39 a.m. CST

    What’s with the Vern ass licking, Mori?

    by Sheeld

    “Perhaps the single most important piece of film criticism we’ll publish this month.” Seriously? Because of..? Don’t get me wrong, Vern is a good reviewer and this one’s no different, but why all this hyperbole? It’s just a review, nothing important is actually discussed – unlike, say, his Die Hard 4 piece, which made some very valid points about the state of Hollywood. I don’t mind giving a guy due credit, and Vern is certainly a good reviewer, but you seem to treat this man like some sort of demi-God! Makes me wonder why…

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 7:59 a.m. CST

    The lack of irony detecting skills…

    by DocPazuzu

    …in this talkback is cringe-inducing.

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 10:46 a.m. CST

    yes, yes…it was already mentioned to Vern above

    by just pillow talk

    Node32774…she is hot regardless of what her nationality is, that’s all that matters.

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 11:19 a.m. CST

    What are countries anyway

    by Vern

    but lines on a map? We are all French. We are all Italian. We are all citizens of earth. That’s all I meant by her being a Frenchwoman. In my opinion.

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 11:38 a.m. CST

    Seagology…

    by wirefufighter

    Any updates Vern?

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 12:23 p.m. CST

    And Vern’s application

    by skimn

    for Miss Teen USA has been accepted.

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Maybe this is just a stupid question, but…

    by seppukudkurosawa

    Would it really be such a travesty if this movie DID advocate gun control?

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 2:54 p.m. CST

    seppuku

    by Vern

    I don’t think it would be a travesty but it would be corny to push a serious message in this one. I guess only if they did it in a Verhoeven type of way where they pretend to be promoting guns and going way too far.

    And as for the SNAKES ON A PLANE thing – there is no comparison. SNAKES ON A PLANE is a failure because it doesn’t even give a half assed attempt at delivering on the promise of the title. There is little fun and it is spread across the movie. It is afraid to just take off the training wheels and let loose. Like someone might be turned off if it got too crazy or absurd. SHOOT ‘EM UP has none of those problems. If SNAKES ON A PLANE had been a little like SHOOT ‘EM UP maybe it would’ve been memorable.

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 3:15 p.m. CST

    Roger Ebert weighs in…

    by TequilaMocking

    http://tinyurl.com/2pm99b

    I told you guys this movie was awesome.

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 6:45 p.m. CST

    FIRST

    by POST

    FIRST BITCHES

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 7:31 p.m. CST

    We NEED A Trend Of Short, Punchy Movies Like This

    by LaserPants

    Most movies don’t have enough of interest to sustain 90 minutes, let alone 2+ hours. I LOVE the idea of the 70 – 80 minute movie in this kind of hyper-exaggerrated mode. Giver you the goods, then knows when its time to end. Lookin forward to this ‘un.

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 10:57 p.m. CST

    What rape scene in Crank?

    by CondomWrapper

    I thought JS’s gf liked having sex in public with him?

  • Sept. 6, 2007, 11:53 p.m. CST

    Monica Belluci = doable

    by Cruel_Kingdom

    :)

  • Sept. 7, 2007, 2:31 a.m. CST

    condomwrapper

    by Vern

    Yeah, it’s the old STRAW DOGS “she actually liked it” fantasy, but still. The guy grabs his girlfriend and forcibly has sex with her while she screams no and tries to get away. What else you gonna call it?

  • Sept. 7, 2007, 11:36 a.m. CST

    :::Vern::: call it Violent Love…

    by The Dum Guy

    I just woke-up and saw that, and thought that sounded like a nice name for rape. I believe some women/girls are into that.

  • Sept. 7, 2007, 12:04 p.m. CST

    Was it just me or….

    by BillyPilgrim

    did Clive Owen’s character remind folks of Brock Sampson when he was jumping around and flying through cars? Cause I had a lot of fun imagining that and laughing my ass off.

  • Sept. 7, 2007, 11:21 p.m. CST

    Great fun movie

    by WolfmanNards

    The style of this movie felt like the same style of satire present in grindhouse especially in PLANET TERROR. If Grindhouse was a triple feature, this could have easily been added to the bill.

  • Sept. 8, 2007, 11:27 a.m. CST

    I hope you all

    by alex_cutter

    see this piece of shit over the weekend. If for no other reason than to have you come back to this thread and demand that Vern never be allowed to post again.

    Creepy, unfunny, poorly shot/written/acted. It has it all!

    Except a naked Belluci.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 1:22 a.m. CST

    I loved Crank…

    by ulcer

    I’m surprised people and Vern didn’t like it, thought there was no action or that it was boring! There was plenty of action and tension due to the character dying throughout the film, and getting more desperate. I’ve seen it at the theater and a couple more times on cable. Transporter 2, I had enough after the first time. I preferred the Transporter 1, overall.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 10:38 a.m. CST

    Complete waste of time

    by Get_Me_An_18-Man_Fire_Team_In_12_Hours

    Friends of mine said this was better than Sin City…I think I just threw up in my mouth a little o_O

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 1:04 p.m. CST

    Didn’t even crack the top 5

    by mr.underwater

    whoops. I sort of had a feeling, as the trailer produced only chuckles with the audience I saw it with (and they were laughing at, not with)

    The success of Bourne and the new Bond should have indicated that folks are pretty bored with over stylized action. And, when you have a picture that promises to be nothing but, well, you have something that doesn’t crack the top 5.

    Actually, it did two slots better than I predicted, as I thought it would open at number 8.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 3:26 p.m. CST

    This movie was a steaming pile of bullshit.

    by Batutta

    I know John Woo, I’ve seen John Woo’s movies…and this is nowhere near as good as John Woo’s best. This is 90 minutes of a director jacking off with the camera, without an interesting story, character, or decent piece of dialogue to prop it up. Clive Owen passed on Casino Royale to be in this shit?! He should fire his agent.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 4:37 p.m. CST

    So you guys think this movie is shitty

    by Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World

    But the Alien vs. Predator 2 trailer is “totally sweet and bitchin” and everything you want in that kind of film? Right. I’m going to go tuck a shotgun between my knees and pull the trigger with a carrot stick to blow my head off, at least I’ll go out with a sense of humor you self-absorbed, empty, hateful pricks.

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 8:52 p.m. CST

    This movie was a steaming pile of shit.

    by Bronx Cheer

    I don’t know how the hell Owen can look himself in the mirror after being involved in Shoot ‘Em Up. My opinion of him dipped considerably following this movie.</p>

    I love a good old fashioned violent romp as much as the next guy, but this movie is not that. It’s insipid. It’s hackneyed. It’s ridiculous. I wanted to like it, but after the fifteenth Death by Carrot and 27th shot my load joke, I just held my head in my hands and curled into a ball.</p>

    SPOILER…that shit at the end with the fireplace…give me a fucking break.END SPOILER

  • Sept. 9, 2007, 9:01 p.m. CST

    BUT…Vern’s review is great, as usual.

    by Bronx Cheer

    Do you ever have an off-day, Vern?

  • Sept. 15, 2007, 1:24 a.m. CST

    Heh

    by christpunchers2007

    Not sure if watched an actual movie or a bunch of set pieces stitched together.. okay movie, but nothing ground breaking.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 5th, 2007 at 5:08 am and is filed under Action, AICN, Comedy/Laffs, Crime, Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “Vern Vs. SHOOT ‘EM UP!”

  1. I really wanted to like this (Hard Boiled is the most important film I’ve ever seen and changed my entire life), but like you mentioned about the close-up camera work Vern; what’s the point of going to all this trouble if you film it in a shitty way? I love even weak Hard Boiled clones (like Lundgren’s ‘Joshua Tree’ or ‘The Matrix’ lobby shoot-out) but they were filmed properly.

    I still can’t get my head around how someone would love Hard Boiled enough to go to all this trouble to make this elaborate homage/update/riff and then not take a single lesson from Woo about how to film action. The way Woo stages and shoots his action scenes is the reason he’s the master of action cinema (it also helps that he knows how to create characters we care about). So why go to all this trouble and then put the camera on a jack-hammer again?

    I’m so sick of almost-good-action-films like this one being undermined by their photography. It’s a real shame. The Expendables was just the same.

  2. In this case it’s even worse, because the director of photography was Peter Pau, Oscar winner for CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON and the guy who even made BRIDE OF CHUCKY and DRACULA 2000 look beautiful!

  3. BTW, I just remembered that Hans-Ulrich Pönack, Germany’s worst movie critic (and IMO one of the three worst in the world) really loved that movie! That is not just remarkable because he has zero taste in movies, but also because he hated the first LORD OF THE RINGS, because he found it too violent!!!
    Imagine that: Someone who called THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING out on public television for being too violent, loved the shit out of SHOOT ‘EM UP! (A few weeks later he called JOHN RAMBO a violence-glorifying and flat out racist piece of shit, though.)

  4. Ehhh…I liked this?

  5. I noticed that my comments made me look like I hated the movie, but no, I really enjoyed it too.

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