This movie kicks of with a bugnuts action scene as Clive Owen dispenses with an army of bad guys while trying to protect a pregnant Lady. She gives birth during the gun battle dies and Clive continues to kill bad guys now while protecting the baby. That is just the first 5 minutes of a film that doesn't let up for it's 86 minute runtime. Shoot 'Em Up is director Michael Davis' homage to the Hong Kong bullet fests of the 80s and 90s, it attempts to create a non stop action ride from start to finish and he accomplishes this feat with almost effortless ease. Clive Owen's character of Smith is the reluctant anti-hero drawn into a sinister plot to kill the child, he's just in the right place at the wrong time, as he's relentlessly pursued by Paul Giamatti's Hertz, a psychotic killer and his hench men.
Director Davis, cut his teeth on fluffy rom coms, 100 Girls and 100 Women, but showed his flair as a genre director with outrageous comic horror, Monster Man. Shoot 'Em Up employs some of the same bad taste elements that made Monster Man such a joy to watch. With Shoot 'Em Up Davis shows us his love of all thing action orientated, from gunfights, car chases and punch ups, it even includes a gun battle during a freefall from an aeroplane. Shoot 'Em Up is the kind of film that is looked at as a pastiche of the genre which in a way is true, but it's also the kind of film which we rarely ever see these days, a straight up balls to the wall, blow shit up action film. It's darkley comic and violent as hell and you'll never look at a carrot in the same way again. The only other people daring to go old school with action cinema is Stallone who is bringing back the flavour of 80s action and Neveldine and Taylor, the directors of Crank, who have managed to find an effective way of filming action scenes on the budget of a direct line advert. There doesn't need to be toppling buildings, giant robots or a free way chase against a F-13 fighter jet, just two guns, an army of bad guys and a shit load of bullets, that's how I like my action and I know a lot of other people like it that way. Shoot 'Em Up is that kind of film and it's a fun 86 minute ride from start to finish.