Shoot 'Em Up is a 2007 action/black comedy film, starring Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, and Monica Bellucci. The film was written and directed by Michael Davis and produced by Susan Montford, Don Murphy and Rick Benattar. The film was released on September 7, 2007. Despite receiving positive reviews, Shoot 'Em Up underperformed at the box office, but has become a cult film.
Smith (Clive Owen), a drifter at a bus stop, sees a pregnant woman fleeing a hitman. Following them into a warehouse, Smith murders the hitman with a carrot and saves the woman. As more thugs arrive, Smith is forced to deliver the woman's baby (later named Oliver) during a firefight. Pursued by head assassin Karl Hertz (Paul Giamatti), the woman is soon shot and killed, forcing Smith to narrowly escape with Oliver.
Leaving the baby in a park, Smith hopes someone will adopt the child, only for a passing woman to be killed by Hertz. Realizing Hertz is trying to kill Oliver, Smith saves him, and attempts to leave him with a lactating prostitute named Donna (Monica Bellucci); despite his pleas, she refuses. Hertz arrives at the brothel shortly after and tortures Donna for information, only for Smith to return and kill Hertz's henchmen.
Taking Donna to his hideout, Smith realizes that Oliver stops crying when he hears heavy metal music, leading him to conclude his mother lived near a heavy metal club. Followed by Hertz, Smith is then forced to shoot his way out of his hideout, before he and Donna head to a nearby club. Heading above the club, they discover an apartment containing medical equipment and two dead pregnant women; Smith concludes the women were all impregnated with a specific man's sperm so they could birth matching bone marrow donors.
Hiding in a motel room, Smith and Donna are attacked by masked men during sex, forcing Smith to kill them while supporting Donna (apparently without her even being aware of the gunplay). Discovering his assailants' weapons are all "Hammerson" models unavailable to the public, Smith takes Donna and Oliver to a war museum, and hides them in a M24 Chaffee armored tank. Infiltrating the Hammerson factory, Smith witnesses Hertz and Hammerson in conversation about how they do not want the Second Amendment repealed by the next President, and notices Hammerson owns a German Shepherd called Duchess. Smith booby-traps the entire facility, allowing him to kill his assailants and escape.
Smith soon notices an article on Senator Harry Rutledge (Daniel Pilon), a presidential candidate campaigning for stricter gun laws. Smith deduces Rutledge has cancer and requires a bone marrow transplant, which is why he had surrogates impregnated with his sperm, and why Hertz and Hammerson want Oliver dead; should the infants die, the Senator will not receive a donation and will be unfit to run as President. Smith tells Donna to leave town, before Smith contacts one of Rutledge's henchmen to request an appointment. Meeting aboard a plane, the Senator confirms Smith's suspicions, only for Smith to notice dog hair on his trousers.
Discerning the hair belongs to Duchess, and that the Senator struck a deal with Hammerson, Smith takes Rutledge hostage, only for Hertz and Hammerson to appear. Escaping from Hertz, Smith kills the Senator and leaps from the aircraft with a parachute. Killing several pursuing henchmen, Smith is shot and, after safely landing, soon collapses due to his injuries. Smith subsequently awakes in Hammerson's mansion. Hertz tortures Smith, breaking his fingers to learn where he sent Donna and Oliver. As Hertz prepares to cut Smith's eyes, Smith manages to break free and kill several thugs. Cornered and struggling to use his gun, Smith places live rounds between his broken fingers and, by detonating them using a fireplace, shoots and critically wounds Hertz. As Smith and Hertz both grab pistols and struggle to kill each other, Smith manages to fire first and kill Hertz.
Boarding a bus with Duchess, Smith soon stops at an ice-cream parlor, only to find Donna working as a waitress while watching Oliver. The film ends as a group of amateur robbers enter the parlor; his hands in bandages, Smith shoots them by using a carrot to pull the trigger.
- Clive Owen as Mr. Smith
- Paul Giamatti as Karl Hertz
- Monica Bellucci as Donna "D.Q." Quintano
- Stephen McHattie as Hammerson
- Greg Bryk as The "Go-to-Guy"
- Daniel Pilon as Senator Harry Rutledge
- Sidney Mende-Gibson as Baby Oliver
- Lucas Mende-Gibson as Baby Oliver
- Kaylyn Yellowlees as Baby Oliver
- Ramona Pringle as Baby's Mother
- Julian Richings as Hertz's Driver
- Jason Reso as Senator's Guard
- Tony Munch as Man Who Rides Shotgun
- Scott McCord as Man who got shot
When writer/director Michael Davis's original concept was passed on by movie studios, he put together a 17-minute reel of animated footage, consisting of 17,000 line drawings, to give studio heads an idea of how the action scenes would play out. This got the attention of New Line Cinema CEO, Bob Shaye, who approved the project and accepted Davis to direct. After signing Clive Owen and other actors, the film went into production in Toronto, Ontario, Canada between February 13, 2006 and May 8, 2006.
The final robbery scene was shot at the Satellite Family Restaurant, a traditional diner in Mississauga, west of Toronto.
Though Variety initially reported a planned release during the holiday season of 2006, and initial previews occurred in September of that year, the film was eventually scheduled for release on September 7, 2007. Audience response from a screening at 2007's San Diego Comic-Con was very positive.
Multilingual co-star Monica Bellucci dubbed her own voice for the French and Italian releases of the film.
"Bullet proof baby" and other marketing
Since July 2007, Shoot 'Em Up was publicized with a guerrilla marketing campaign by London based agency New Media Maze. The campaign included a viral video and website selling bogus items ranging from bullet-proof strollers to riot helmets for infants. A video was released on YouTube in which the company claimed to test the bullet-proof stroller by shooting at it with a submachine gun while a baby was in it. The baby was then taken out of the stroller unharmed. It was all a hoax, but the campaign was nevertheless taken seriously by global media and the blogging community. For instance, Sweden's biggest evening tabloid Aftonbladet had the story as its lead on their online edition for some time.
The film received mixed to positive reviews from film critics. Peter Debruge of Variety called the film "violent and vile in equal measure", but "too stylistically audacious to dismiss outright". Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter was more equivocal in his review, saying "Anyone looking for subtlety, character development or layered plotting will be disappointed, but action fans will find plenty to amuse them with this film that makes Hard Boiled look restrained", and that the film is "all very good and undeniably fun...." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone praised the film (giving it three stars out of four) and called Shoot 'Em Up a "wet dream for action junkies [that] leaves out logic and motivation...." Taking the opposite view, Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film one out of four stars, decrying the film's "jolly cruelt[y]", and calling the film "cruddy and vile" and "witless", and A.O. Scott of the New York Times went even further, calling the film "a worthless piece of garbage". Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times highly praised the film and gave it 3.5 stars out of 4, explaining: "I may disapprove of a movie for going too far, and yet have a sneaky regard for a movie that goes much, much farther than merely too far."
As of January 13, 2010, the movie-review aggregating website Rotten Tomatoes lists Shoot 'Em Up with a "Tomatometer" rating of 67% ("fresh") based on 156 reviews, with an average critic's rating of 6.2/10.
The film opened in fourth place for its first weekend, earning $5,716,139 from 2,108 theaters. The film has a total worldwide gross of $26,820,641, making it a failure at a $39 million budget.
Blu-ray & DVD release
The movie was released in high-definition Blu-ray Disc and DVD formats on New Year's Day, January 1, 2008. The HD DVD version of the movie was scheduled to be released shortly after the Blu-ray version, but Warner Bros./New Line's decision to exclusively support Blu-ray has led to the cancellation of all New Line HD DVD titles (along with all Warner Bros. HD DVD titles after May 2008). The Blu-ray version of Shoot 'Em Up was delayed one week in Canada.
- Official website
- Shoot 'Em Up at the Internet Movie Database
- Shoot 'Em Up at Metacritic
- Shoot 'Em Up at AllMovie