“A few days ago, I found a Tumblr called Shit People Say to Women Directors. It’s a collection of quotes and incidents that highlight the misogyny in Hollywood. It equally enfuriates and motivates me. I wish I was a Hollywood director. And I specifically want to direct action movies (or at least start there and then branch into Tarantino-esque territory). Why action movies? Two reasons. One – It’s my favorite genre. I know it really well and I would have a blast (possibly involving actual explosions). Two – That seems to be the genre where it’s even worse for us chicks than any of the others, so I wanna be the one to show the boys how it’s done. Die Hard, The Raid, Equilibrium, Terminator, anything starring Jason Statham, these are all the types of movies I’ve studied religiously. And in this future hypothetical scenario where I rule the world as far as action movies go, the film I’d most want my work to resemble is Shoot ‘Em Up.
Every time I update my top 100, this always ends up just shy of making the list. But it really shouldn’t. The longer it’s been since I’ve seen it, the less likely it is to make the cut, which is incredibly unfortunate. This is one of the most awesome, dark, subversive, quirky, and insane action films out there. I still remember the first time I saw it, that opening scene punched me in the face harder than Statham (my favorite action hero) ever did. It takes less than two minutes before the first guns are blazing, and with my favorite Nirvana song (“”Breed””) blaring, I knew I was in for something amazing.
Not too long after the DVD came out, I had a couple friends over. I suggested we watch this. I had them sold just by listing off the cast. “”Clive Owen?!””, the straight male friend said, “”I would totally go gay for him!”” That was quickly followed by the gay male friend saying “”Monica Bellucci?! I would totally go straight for her!””
Right so Clive Owen, tough guy just minding his own business, happens upon a pregnant lady about to give birth. She’s followed by some shady looking characters. Owen intervenes and helps the woman deliver while simultaneously fighting off the baddies. He tries to cart the infant child off to safety, while being chased by boss baddie Paul Giamatti, and enlists Monica Bellucci to take care of the kid while he takes care of business.
The plot kinda makes no sense, but it’s just background noise. A reason for Owen to kick butt and Giamatti to chew scenery. I love the very direct Snakes On A Plane-esque title that tells you exactly what you’re gonna get. Lots of shooting and no \m/ given. While the plot may not be memorable, the action scenes and character quirks certainly are. Owen’s Smith has a very John McClaine type of vibe, where he’s just in the wrong place at the wrong time and mostly just inconvenienced by whatever conscience encouraged him to get involved. Except McClaine never had a shoot out while parachuting out of a plane. Nor did he manage to shoot bullets without a gun (it involves heat and physics and bad ass-ery).
Long story short, this movie deserves a better fate than to fade off into obscurity. It’s too \m/ awesome to let it disappear.”