Friday, September 14, 2007

Shoot 'Em Up

Action movies have a new bad ass in town, and his name is Clive Owen. Try wrapping up Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson, Jason Statham, and add a British tinge, and you get Owen. I'm not sure exactly what to make of this movie. It wasn't good, but it was kind of fun. I think it tried to emulate the violent wit of Guy Ritchie action movies such as Snatch, and Layer Cake. Instead it fell short and ended up on par with last year's Smokin' Aces.

Owen is simply "Mr. Smith" who unwittingly gets involved in a massive conspiracy when he tries to rescue a pregnant woman who is being chased by an absurdly large group of heavily armed men. He manages to fight them off, while delivering her baby. Smith soon becomes the sole protector of this baby, and he doesn't even know why everyone is after it. Eventually Smith recruits the help of soon-to-be love interest Donna Quintano (Monica Belucci), a prostitute with a maternal instinct. Together the two of them protect the baby while taking out dozens of bad guys.

Paul Giamatti takes an interesting turn as the lead bad guy. He does well with the spitting, sweaty faced anger that you expect from a chubby balding bad guy, but his random quips and cliched plans just play off as weird and random. Listen to his "tit for tat" limerick towards the beginning and you 'll know what I mean. Owen takes his action role very seriously, using a wide array of guns, and even carrots as weapons. Both of which are clearly violent phallic symbols.

You never really know who any of the characters are. I mean you certainly get an idea who they are, but you don't understand why they're involved. Sure there's conspiracies, and government agencies, and gun companies, but very little holds together between the frequent gunfight (which are pretty spectacular). Owen repels down a stairwell filled with guys, is involved in a shootout while engaging in intercourse, and in one laughable scene, shoots it out with several others while skydiving. These pretty much sum up the fun, but head-scratchingly over the top sequences in the movie.

I realize that this movie is just supposed to be a schlocky gun-fest, but it's just not all that good, and left me rolling my eyes through much of it. I wish the movie were as fun watch as I'm sure it was to make.


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