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Shoot 'Em Up(2007)
Mr. Smith, the angriest, most hardboiled man in the world, finds himself entrusted to protect the most innocent thing of all - a newborn child. When Smith delivers the baby in the middle of a gunfight, he soon discovers that the infant is the target of a shadowy force that has sent a team of mysterious and endless assailants, led by Hertz, to erase all traces of the baby. Amid a hail of bullets and facing every conceivable permutation of gunfight, Smith teams up with a prostitute named DQ to solve the mystery as to why the baby's life is being threatened before this makeshift family all ends up on the wrong side of a bullet. Everyone wants the baby dead. The big question is why?
For more about Shoot 'Em Up and the Shoot 'Em Up Blu-ray release, see Shoot 'Em Up Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on February 21, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 5.0 out of 5.
Starring: Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Monica Bellucci, Stephen McHattie, Greg Bryk, Daniel Pilon
Director: Michael Davis
» See full cast & crew
Shoot 'Em Up Blu-ray Review
Nonstop, over-the-top action sparkles on Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, February 21, 2008
You know why a gun is better than a wife? You can put a silencer on a gun!
Step aside, Last Action Hero. Your successor is here. I never thought I would say that about one of my favorite action movies, but Shoot 'Em Up may very well have dethroned that Arnold Schwarzenegger classic as the best action movie parody of all time. This Michael Davis written and directed action flick delivers quality one-liners that would make Arnold's best writers green (or carrot orange?) with envy, and star Clive Owen (King Arthur) delivers them naturally, gracefully, and with all the wit and senselessness that they deserve. The movie is completely inane, but therein lies the fun. If you are not a staunch action movie fan, you will probably not "get" this movie, and I can assure you that you won't be able to get into it, either. The gun fights, stunts, explosions, and situations are completely ridiculous and unbelievable. Writer/director Davis certainly knows his stuff, throwing just about every cliché in the book into this one, and making up a few soon-to-be new ones along the way for good measure. He also nails several social issues, including corrupt politicians, bad drivers, and common crooks, the kind you find showcased on late-night cable "dumbest criminal" shows.
Plot? Who cares about the plot! People will watch Shoot 'Em Up to see, well, things and people being shot up, and that's exactly what we get here. Absolutely no time is wasted as the film opens with a bunch of heavily armed bad guys in pursuit of a woman in labor. Our hero Smith (Owen) gets caught in the middle, taking her gun (he never carries one) and fending them off as he delivers the baby, and "caps" things off by severing the umbilical cord with a bullet. Smith protects the baby but ultimately decides to abandon the child in a playground. Seconds later, a good samaritan is blown away by our villain, Hertz (Paul Giamatti, Lady in the Water), and Smith changes his mind, rescuing the infant yet again in the midst of a barrage of lead whilst implementing some crack shooting to spin a carousel to keep the child out of the line of fire. He eventually pairs up with a prostitute named Donna Quintano (Monica Bellucci, Tears of the Sun) who helps him protect the baby at all costs. Eventually, we are let in on the back story of the baby, why he is important, and the repercussions and ripples he could cause if the bad guys get their way. Suffice it to say, these bad guys will do anything to fulfill the agenda they share with an unscrupulous politician. What they didn't count on, however, was Smith, who comes armed with an extensive knowledge of weapons, how to use them, and a creative mind that always makes sure he gets in the last shot (and laugh).
Shoot 'Em Up does indeed play like a "ballet of bullets," but one where we root for the dancers to trip over themselves repeatedly and make a circus act out of their performance, yet maintain the grace, power, and agility that makes them so fascinating to watch. It's what we expect to see, but presented in a way that we rarely experience in film today. This movie certainly delves into each and every action movie convention, but it exaggerates them all to a never before seen height of ludicrousness. Hertz carries an impossibly large, completely impractical Desert Eagle handgun (the .50 caliber version in all likelihood). Carrot sticks are used to kill people like a sharp knife going in the mouth and out of the back of the head ("eat your vegetables"). When a gun is equipped with a digital thumbprint safety device, our hero pulls out the bad guy's severed hand and uses it to grip the gun, again finishing off the scene with an appropriately witty and slightly raunchy one liner that'll have you rolling on the floor in laughter. When the baby hears a politician discussing gun control on television, he cries, but after the channel is changed to heavy metal music, he calms down and sleeps. You get the idea here. Shoot 'Em Up is the most fun I've had watching a movie in years, and its compact, 80 minute runtime (without credits) assures it doesn't get too long in the tooth. Action fans have a new hero: director Michael Davis. His Shoot 'Em Up will leave you breathless between the nonstop action and uproarious dialogue.
Shoot 'Em Up Blu-ray, Video Quality
New Line continues to crank out excellent Blu-ray discs, and Shoot 'Em Up is another fine example of the studio's work. Presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, this 1080p Blu-ray transfer is faultless. Reproduction for the home is superb. This theater-quality image comes to you with breathtaking detail. Even though the movie has been deliberately saturated to give it a slightly unrealistic, stylishly white, and bloomy tint, the film retains an extremely high quality appearance. Though a tad bit muted, color reproduction is exemplary. As described in the commentary track, the film's primary colors are red, green, yellow, and orange hues, creating a "warmer" feel to the picture. There is a bit of inherent film grain to be seen here and there that adds to both the grittiness and theatrical quality of the transfer. Black levels are spot-on perfect, and fine detail is rendered majestically, even in dark scenes. The image is never dull or soft, instead showcasing a vibrant, three-dimensional, clear, and detailed picture. If the action doesn't leave you breathless, this transfer will. It's first-rate all the way, and the way it reproduces a quality movie theater presentation is uncanny. Turn off the lights, turn on your television or projector, and enjoy. This one's a winner.
Shoot 'Em Up Blu-ray, Audio Quality
In a word, Shoot 'Em Up on Blu-ray rocks. If you are looking for a nonstop audible assault, look no further. This DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix will blow your socks off, and there won't be enough sock left at the end to use as a baby cap. Everything about this mix is explosive, from raucous kabooms to the crunching of carrot sticks. One of the first gunshots in the film practically goes right through you and into the rear, and the subwoofer makes sure you feel it in your chest as it does so. Surrounds are used nonstop. Bullets ricochet, cars fly by, music pulsates, sky divers fall all around you, and explosions just might blow out your speakers if you're not careful. Dialogue is fine; the one liners come across crisply and clearly. Any other dialogue is superfluous to the action and while you hear it plainly enough, it's the rest of this absolutely killer soundtrack that you'll be listening to. Any superlative you can think of to describe a hard-hitting, heart-pounding, skull-splitting soundtrack, insert here. It's that good, that aggressive, that fun. Just make sure to watch this one when all your neighbors in a half a mile radius aren't home. Otherwise, the local 5-0, or worse yet, the cast of characters from Shoot 'Em Up just might show up to silence your sound system for good.
Shoot 'Em Up Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Shoot 'Em Up arrives on Blu-ray with a quality package of in-depth supplements. First up is a picture-in-picture track that showcases the cast and crew discussing the film, including writing the script, not shooting extra scenes, post-production tweaks, capturing the stunts, and creating the special effects in the film. Director Michael Davis handles the bulk of this piece, and he goes fairly in-depth with regards to his approach to creating this film. There is also discussion about how the environment reflects the characters, and the actors themselves talk about the motivations of their characters and the acting process in creating an action movie. There is an awful lot of material here, and fans of the technical side of making movies are going to find plenty of interesting tidbits in here. In addition to this visual commentary track, there is also a standard fare audio track that features writer/director Michael Davis. He makes sure there is not one bit of dead air as he has plenty to say about his film. Not only does he give a play-by-play of the action, he also goes in-depth about most every facet of the filmmaking process.
Next up are nine deleted and alternate scenes with optional commentary by director Michael Davis, presented in 1080p with a total runtime of 8:05. I enjoyed each scene, but Davis defends the decision to cut them well enough while also partially playing the play-by-play game for certain shots. Ballet of Bullets (720p, 52:51) is a five-part making-of documentary that covers everything a die-hard Shoot 'Em Up fan could want to know. Beginning with part one, Lock and Load, Michael Davis shows that he really, really loves action films. He's quite animated and discusses how he created a 15 minute computer generated clip to sell his idea to the studios. In Armed and Dangerous, Davis talks about the actors approaching the material as a serious piece rather than a cartoonish parody. He's especially fond of Clive Owen as well. Itchy Trigger Fingers is a fascinating look at the 200-some weapons used in the film, and Clive Owen uses almost all of them at one point or another. Many of the .45s are the newest models from Canadian manufacturer Para-Ordnance, and the film's weapons expert discusses modifying them to fire only blank rounds to keep them completely safe during the filmmaking process. Safety's Off showcases the hurdles that must be overcome when a newborn baby is needed for a film. The animatronic babies created for the film are also examined. Finally, Muzzle Flash is an in-depth look at "shooting" the movie.
Animatics (720p, 21:00) is the series of animated scenes Michael Davis developed to sell his idea for Shoot 'Em Up to the studio. All but two of them allow the viewer to watch the final scene from the movie that coincides with its animatic, and each one comes complete with optional commentary from the director. This is a top-notch feature that caps off the supplements very well and reaffirms just how much the director loves this project. Finally, three trailers for Shoot 'Em Up (480p, 1080p) conclude this engrossing grouping of supplements.
Shoot 'Em Up Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Action movie fans, listen up. There's a new player in town, and it's Shoot 'Em Up. The movie delivers low brow humor, nonstop and completely over-the-top stunts, more firearms than a Texas gun show, loud music, explosions, witty one liners, and carrots. If you despise the action genre, hate firearms, or dislike parodies, get as far away from this one as you can. Everyone else, take notice, because Shoot 'Em Up will become a staple in any respectable action movie buff's rotation, and this Blu-ray edition is top-notch. Featuring top quality audio and video content, as well as a nice mix of supplements, this disc is a surefire winner. If you loved The Last Action Hero, can quote Commando verbatim, and despise period costume movies, this one's for you, and to you only I give Shoot 'Em Up on Blu-ray my highest recommendation!
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