As there appears to be no review embargo on Michael Davis’s Shoot ‘Em Up (David Poland and Variety‘s Peter Debruge have already weighed in), I’ll come right out and say it: this is the Crank of 2007. And if you didn’t like Crank, well, you can just haul your pinko ass back to Russia, Ivan.
Everything you’ve heard about Shoot ‘Em Up being a live-action Looney Toons homage is spot-on, but, for all its meaningless, slapstick violence, the movie actually has a moral center as well. A friend of mine called it "Children of Men directed by Frank Tashlin", and I think that’s a perfect way to sell it (to geeks, at least). Clive Owen’s "Man With No Name" (or "The Angriest Man in the World") isn’t just Bugs Bunny trying to outwit Elmer Fudd (Paul Giamatti) for his own amusement/self-preservation; he’s trying to keep the trigger-happy bastard from killing a baby (for reasons that may not make a lot of sense, but at least they’re there). Owen’s protagonist also hates bad manners, and will mete out instant, calamitous justice if someone so much as changes lanes without using their turn signal.
At ninety-three minutes (with credits), Shoot ‘Em Up rarely bogs down and never stops thinking of inventive ways to stage a gunfight. It’s a classic of mindless action. And now you’ve got the opportunity to get a fuller appreciation for its anti-social brilliance with the red band trailer just added to the film’s official site (you’ll need to do some age verifyin’, but it’s quick and painless). As you’ll see, Owen’s character is the kind of guy who’s not going to let something as trivial as a full-scale gun battle deter him from getting a piece of ass (especially when that ass belongs to Monica Bellucci). If this bothers you, again, go suck down a bowl of borscht.