The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday February 8th

'Shoot 'Em Up' a violent letdown

Let's get one thing straight. Michael Davis, writer and director of "Shoot 'Em Up," is no Tarantino. So should we really trust him to make a pulp-action parody featuring the talents of Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti? No. "Shoot 'Em Up" follows a man known only as Smith (Owen) as he is forced to deliver and protect a baby in the middle of a shootout, all while trying to figure out why he's doing it. Sound ridiculous? Oh, that's only the beginning. Smith grimaces his way through over-the-top action sequences as the stereotypical no-nonsense superhero who, in addition to being an expert marksmen, is also apparently bulletproof. Smith's nemesis is the creepy FBI-profiler-turned-criminal gun dealer Hertz (Giamatti). Both actors are clearly talented, but the script doesn't let the audience take them seriously. In the film's defense, this is the point. "Shoot 'Em Up" is obviously making fun of every movie labeled with the title. With specific nods to Bond films, Smith ruthlessly guns down every baddie in every situation with amazing precision and ingenuity, then follows his kills with a cheesy quip. And it certainly is exciting. Stylish production and an appropriate headbanger soundtrack gets the pulse going for each outrageous scene I mean, seriously, he kills more bad guys with a carrot than most action heroes manage to take out in an entire film. Unfortunately, this movie just isn't fun enough. It blatantly attacks every possible sensibility the audience could even think of having and likely leaves all but the most die-hard action fans sickened. While "Shoot 'em Up" does have some creative and exciting action sequences, its attempt at satirizing the genre fails when you realize you're not really enjoying yourself. Contact the Diversions Editor at


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