Owen Loves Baby Carrots
They say you should get your 5 a day but be wary of carrots especially those in the hands of Clive Owen as they can kill. Carrots is just one of numerous memories you will have of "Shoot 'Em Up" because this is one memorable and hugely enjoyable movie which does exactly what it says on the tin. In fact whilst there is a storyline about someone wanting a baby dead "Shoot 'Em Up" is all about the action, the "Transporter" style battles but battles which all have a moment of comedy be it death by carrot as it is used as a lethal weapon or Clive Owen's character delivering a baby in the middle of a shoot out and using a shot to sever the umbilical chord, yes you did read that right.
He was just sitting waiting for a bus, chomping down on a carrot when a pregnant woman runs past chased by a gunman, well what else was Mr. Smith (Clive Owen - Inside Man) to do other than defend the woman whilst delivering the baby. It is the start of a madcap series of events as Mr. Smith discovers that there are a group of people lead by the ruthless Hertz (Paul Giamatti - The Illusionist) who want this baby dead. So with the help of Donna Quintano (Monica Bellucci - The Matrix Revolutions), a lactating prostitute they go on the run to try and protect the baby who strangely loves heavy metal.
"Shoot 'Em Up" has probably one of my favourite openings of any movie; we have the dirty looking Mr. Smith sitting at a bus stop looking seriously pissed off and then he bites into a bright orange carrot. That immediately makes you laugh as does what follows from the pregnant woman running past to the battle as Mr. Smith delivers a baby whilst he kills one bad guy after another. It is crazy but stylishly crazy with plenty of nice, clever action and comedy from legs being shot out on a table to make a ramp to Smith using his gun to cut the umbilical chord.
And that is what you get over and over again because whilst "Shoot 'Em Up" features a story about this baby, bad guys and someone wanting him dead it is really all about the action and comedy. So we have Clive Owen playing this tough guy who hates bad manners and loves carrots, we have Monica Bellucci as the lactating prostitute who will turn a trick to earn money to buy the baby a bullet proof jacket and there is the cackling evilness of Paul Giamatti as Hertz. And this trio along with a whole legion of bad guys gives us one scene of violence and comedy after another, but not just daft comedy, this is clever comedy when you have Smith using a hand warmer in the toilets to dry his gun whilst fighting a bad guy or shooting at a merry go round to make it spin and protect the baby.
Now part of why this works is the good direction and good writing because there isn't a scene which isn't funny or action packed, even the obligatory romantic subplot which leads to a sex scene has a wonderful comedy pay off as Mr. Smith quite literally bangs away. But it is also the casting which is spot on and with the trio of Owen, Bellucci and Giamatti all playing wonderful characters. Just the opening with Owen looking angry whilst crunching on a carrot sells you and that is before we get to him doing action which is terrific, Giamatti is just as good as the evil Hertz and who ever thought of Bellucci playing a lactating prostitute is a genius.
What this all boils down to is that "Shoot 'Em Up" is a brilliant movie because it is simply about action which is drenched in comedy. Taken seriously it is daft but it is impossible to take seriously because there are so many comically clever and thrilling scenes which trust me you won't forget in a hurry.