Reader’s Recommendations: “Shoot ‘Em Up”

shoot_em_up_ver4Hey everyone, it’s Friday, time for another entry in the Reader Recommendations series!

The Reader Recommendation series is intended to help me formally pursue all the great films that commenters bring up each week in discussion which I’ve never seen. If there’s a movie that comes up that I haven’t seen, but you think I should, email me @ or let me know in the comments that you’d like to participate!

RyanThis time up, our recommendation comes from Ryan Miller of Rhino’s Horror, who’s recommended “Shoot ‘Em Up”, starring Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Monica Bellucci. It sounds pretty off the wall from what I’ve seen and read, so I’m excited to check it out!

Click through to see what we had to say!

My questions in bold, Ryan’s answers below!

1) Do you remember when you first saw the movie?

Back in 2007. I worked at a theater so I got to see it the night before it came out. Everyone thought it was going to be shit so my good friend and I were the only employees to actually show up and watch it. Joke’s on them!

2) Why do you think that it’s recommendable? What do you like about it?

It’s the ultimate action flick. It has everything we love about action films rolled up into one insane movie. What more do you need? What I love about the film is that I can basically turn my brain off for an hour and a half and watch some ridiculous entertainment. Also, Paul Giamatti is an amazing villain.

3) Is the movie underappreciated, do you think? Or does pop culture have it fairly rated?

Shoot ‘Em Up has been treated pretty fairly over the years I’d say. It’s not a hard movie to like. He kills a guy with a carrot in the first few minutes of the film! Eat your vegetables kids!

4) Is there any particular reason you thought I should watch it, or were you just surprised I hadn’t seen it?

I thought you should check it out because everyone likes a good action flick right? I thought you’d appreciate it’s fun violence and utterly insane action sequences. And everyone needs to see Giamatti in this movie at least once, he’s that good!

5) Have you written about the movie yourself? (Insert plug here! LOL )

I sure haven’t. It needs zombies and demons and all that jazz to find a comfy spot on my blog.

Thanks Ryan, my review is below!


“Shoot ‘Em Up” opens with an outrageous shoot out set to Nirvana’s “Breed”. After Clive Owen kills a man with a carrot, he winds up delivering a baby. I immediately was like, “Hell yeah!” LOL. This movie instantly introduces itself as an over the top action film with a sense of humor about itself, and I, for one, can appreciate that!

Owen plays Smith, a homeless ex-black ops specialist who gets pulled into a violent situation after seeing a pregnant woman being threatened by a man with a gun. When he fails to protect her and she’s killed, he’s left with her newborn baby. The gang of crooks who killed the woman want the baby dead, too, however, so Smith is put on the run. He seeks the help of a prostitute (Monica Bellucci) who specializes in lactation, and together the three of them go on the lam.

Can Smith keep the baby alive? And why do these criminals want the baby dead to begin with?

Paul Giamatti plays a violent crime boss trying to hunt the baby. He’s gleefully chewing scenery here, the type of villain who shoots his own henchman, that sort of thing. Yet he’s still taking calls from his wife and trying to pick out birthday cards for his son. He and Owen have a humorous cat and mouse, with Giamatti alternately frustrated by and admiring of Owen’s character. It’s a fun adversarial relationship, and Giamatti makes a great villain. Owen is a stoic, unstoppable tough guy, focused on the task at hand.

The action and dialogue here are all intentionally played fast and loose in order to keep the ludicrous factor high. Owen dispatches with hundreds of henchmen, shooting on the run, sliding on his back, and rappelling down the center of a stairwell. At one point, he jumps off of a bridge, shoots the sunroof out of a car below, and lands in the driver seat. There’s cool scenes like Owen explaining what a gun is to a smiling newborn, remotely operating a string of guns set up with string like a deadly puppeteer, and a skydiving shootout set to AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood (You Got It)”. Plus, any movie that puts Motörhead in its soundtrack alright in my book.

It’s a fast paced, action packed film that doesn’t take anything seriously. It’s not the highest caliber movie, but I certainly enjoyed watching it! Thanks Ryan, nice pick!


46 thoughts on “Reader’s Recommendations: “Shoot ‘Em Up”

  1. I love this movie. It’s like Looney Tunes where everyone’s taking things ridiculously seriously. Though honestly it’s been a while since I’ve seen it and I mainly remember Owen murdering everyone with a carrot and that scene where they’re he’s murdering parachuters. But honestly any movie could be improved by those key scenes. 🙂

    (And speaking of Looney Tunes I think the carrot was a direct reference to Bugs Bunny.)

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