Shoot 'Em Up (film)

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Shoot 'Em Up
Shoot em up ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Davis
Produced by
Written by Michael Davis
Starring
Music by Paul Haslinger
Cinematography Peter Pau
Edited by Peter Amundson[1]
Production
company
Distributed by New Line Cinema[1]
Release date
  • September 7, 2007 (2007-09-07)
Running time
86 minutes[2]
Country United States[1]
Language English
Budget $39 million[3]
Box office $26.8 million[3]

Shoot 'Em Up is a 2007 American gun fu action film written and directed by Michael Davis. It stars Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Monica Bellucci and Stephen McHattie. The film follows Smith (Owen), a drifter who rescues a newborn from being killed by assassin Hertz (Giamatti) and his henchmen. Smith flees from the gang, enlisting the help of prostitute DQ (Bellucci) to keep the baby safe as he unravels the conspiracy.

According to Davis, the idea for the film came about after coming across a gunbattle sequence from John Woo's critically acclaimed action Hard Boiled, in which Chow Yun-fat rescues newborn babies from gangsters. Desiring to make an action film centered largely on guns, he expanded this idea into a screenplay he wrote in 2000, accompanied by an animated footage filled with 17,000 drawings he had planned out for the action scenes. After a successful pitch with New Line Cinema, filming commenced in Toronto, overseen by cinematographer Peter Pau.

Before its September 2007 release, the film was previewed before audiences at that year's San Diego Comic-Con to very positive reactions. Despite a mediocre commercial performance, recouping less than its budget, some critics gave the film a positive review—including Roger Ebert, who immortalized it as "some kind of legend in the murky depths of extreme action".

Plot[edit]

At a bus stop in a rough part of town, a drifter named Smith (Clive Owen) sees a pregnant woman fleeing a hitman. Following them into a warehouse, Smith murders the hitman by stabbing him in the face with a carrot. As more thugs arrive, the woman starts to give birth, and Smith is forced to deliver the woman's baby during a shootout. Pursued by head assassin Hertz (Paul Giamatti), the woman is shot and killed, forcing Smith to narrowly escape with the newborn.

Leaving the baby in a park, Smith hopes someone will adopt the child, only for a passing woman to be killed by a shot from Hertz's sniper rifle. Realizing Hertz is trying to kill the baby, Smith saves him and attempts to leave him with a lactating prostitute named Donna Quintano (Monica Bellucci), who refuses despite his pleas. Soon after, Hertz arrives at the brothel and tortures Donna for information, only for Smith to return and kill Hertz's henchmen.

Taking Donna to his hideout, Smith realizes that the baby, who he names 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 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; Smith realizes his assailants' weapons are all "Hammerson" models unavailable to the public. Before he pursues this clue, Smith takes Donna and Oliver to a war museum and hides them in a M24 Chaffee tank. Smith infiltrated the Hammerson factory, witnessing Hertz and Hammerson in conversation about how they do not want the right to bear arms in accordance with the Second Amendment repealed by the next President, and notices Hammerson owns a German Shepherd called Duchess. Smith booby traps the entire facility with a vast array of firearms, allowing him to kill the thugs and escape.

Smith soon notices an article on Senator Rutledge (Daniel Pilon), a Democratic 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. If 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 awakens 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 and Hammerson. 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, where he finds Donna working as a waitress while watching Oliver. A group of amateur armed robbers enter the parlor; his hands in bandages, Smith shoots them by using a carrot to pull the trigger.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

John Woo's (pictured) action Hard Boiled was a heavy influence in the conception of the film.

The writer and director of Shoot 'Em Up, Michael Davis, had always wanted to make an action film that is gun-centric and devoid of explosions.[4] He conceived of the film after coming across a scene from John Woo's critically acclaimed action Hard Boiled, in which its star Chow Yun-fat rescues newborn babies from gangsters while engaged into a gunfight. He felt the scene was a good idea to expand into a feature-length film.[5] His take on the story is a "gun-like" version of Run Lola Run (1998).[6] By 2000, Davis began writing the screenplay;[4] using a Wacom tablet and the iMovie app, he also put together a fifteen-minute reel of animated footage composed of 17,000 sketches he drew filled with action sequences he had envisioned for the film.[7]

The story's protagonist, only referred to as Smith,[8] is an homage to the Man with No Name of the Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns.[9][10] Smith's no-nonsense personality was derived from Davis' frustration when a script he wrote in 1989 about Alfred Kinsey had failed to materialize as a feature film.[7] However, his extensive research about the famous sexologist and to human sexuality in general spawned another main character, Donna Quintano (short for DQ), a lactating prostitute and Smith's eventual love interest.[11] In pursuit of Smith is the villain Hertz, who lives a double life of being an assassin and a family man. According to co-producer Susan Montford, the character was modeled after the BTK Killer.[11]

Davis sent the script and animation to Don Murphy, a film producer whom he met at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.[6] Murphy loved the script because it "pokes fun at America's big obsessions – guns and breasts and violence, in that order",[11] and helped him pitch the film to major studios.[12] Davis' animation was submitted to New Line Cinema executives Jeff Katz and Cale Boyter; they, too, loved it and eventually got its way to Toby Emmerich, who resolved to give it the green-light.[6]

Davis' first choice to play Smith had been Clive Owen, eventually signing on for the lead as the script's conceit impressed him.[4] The role of DQ went to Monica Bellucci, who loved the character because she is a free and independent woman who "does dangerous, dark dirty things in a playful way".[11] Bellucci is a multilingual who dubbed her own voice for the French and Italian releases of the film.[13] Davis cast Paul Giamatti against type because, like in Little Miss Sunshine (2006), the actor usually took the role of the everyman,[9] and he preferred breaking the stereotype of a physically large villain.[11] Hertz's feud with Smith has been equated to that of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in Looney Tunes because Smith, like Bugs, spends an ample time eating carrots in the film.[10] Davis acknowledged that the Looney Tunes reference was a conscious decision for humor.[14]

The film was made on a production budget of $39 million.[3] Principal photography on the film took place at Toronto, Ontario, Canada and lasted fifty-five days,[4][8] overseen by cinematographer Peter Pau of Hong-Kong.[12] Before filming, Owen and Giamatti underwent firearm training.[11] Although he found the stunts to be physically demanding,[15] Owen resolved to perform most of these by himself.[4] In the skydiving sequence, however, he was helped by the Cirque du Soleil by providing their safety harness.[9] During production, a total of eighty firearms were used,[11] and a $70,000 budget was allocated for 6,000 squib effects (bullet hits).[9][11]

Soundtrack[edit]

Shoot 'Em Up (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Paul Haslinger
Released August 28, 2007 (2007-08-28)
Venue NRG Recording Studios
Genre Film score
Length 36:36
Label Varèse Sarabande
Producer Paul Haslinger

The film score for Shoot 'Em Up was composed by Paul Haslinger, recorded at NRG Recording Studios in North Hollywood, California.[16] It was made available for digital download and CD on August 28, 2007 by Varèse Sarabande.[16][17] Before the film score released, a soundtrack album featuring nu metal and rock songs from various artists[18] was made available on February 12, 2008.[19]

All music composed by Paul Haslinger.

Marketing[edit]

In 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.[20] 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.[21] The baby was then taken out of the stroller unharmed. It was all a hoax,[22] but the campaign was nevertheless taken seriously by global media and the blogging community.[23] For instance, Sweden's biggest evening tabloid Aftonbladet had the story as its lead on their online edition for some time.[24]

Release[edit]

Though Variety initially reported a planned release during the holiday season of 2006,[25] and initial previews occurred in September of that year,[26] the film eventually debuted in American theaters on September 7, 2007. Audience response from a screening at 2007's San Diego Comic-Con was very positive.[10]

The film opened in fourth place in its first weekend, earning $5,716,139 at 2,108 locations,[27] and closed on October 21, 2007 with a worldwide gross of $26,820,641.[3] It was then regarded a box office dissapointment, recouping less than its budget.[28]

Home media[edit]

The DVD and Blu-ray versions of the film were released on January 1, 2008 by New Line Home Entertainment,[29] featuring behind-the-scene footage titled Ballet of Bullets, a seventeen-minute animatics and audio commentary from director Michael Davis, and deleted scenes and trailers of the film.[30] New Line yet released another DVD and Blu-ray of the film, as a two-disc version on August 30, 2011.[31]

Reception[edit]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 67% based on 162 reviews, and an average rating of 6.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "As preposterous and over-the-top as Shoot 'Em Up may be, its humor and non-stop action make for a very enjoyable film."[32] Metacritic gives it a weighted average rating of 49/100 based on 23 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[33] Audiences polled by CinemaScore during opening weekend gave the film an average grade of "B-" on a scale ranging from A+ to F.[34]

The film's action scenes were met with positive reactions from critics,[35][36][37] including the likes of Roger Ebert, who immortalized it as "some kind of legend in the murky depths of extreme action",[35] and Peter Travers, who called it a "wet dream for action junkies".[36] Although the New York Post said the director "handles the material with great style and wit",[38] a scathing review by A. O. Scott of The New York Times said it was an example of a "witless, soulless, heartless movies that mistake noise for bravura and tastelessness for wit".[8] Ty Burr of the Boston Globe called it expertly made, and in tongue-in-cheek the "Coen Brothers for Dummies".[39]

In 2016, the film made the list of "25 great action films that are 90 minutes or under", compiled by Nick Horton of Den of Geek!.[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Shoot 'em Up (2007)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on December 7, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Shoot 'Em Up (2007)". British Board of Film Classification. Archived from the original on March 21, 2017. Retrieved March 21, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Shoot 'Em Up (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. Archived from the original on April 23, 2009. Retrieved February 27, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Douglas, Edward. "Exclusive: Shoot 'Em Up's Michael Davis". ComingSoon.net. CraveOnline. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017. Retrieved March 21, 2017. 
  5. ^ Villalobos, Brian (September 6, 2007). "Writer / Director Michael Davis Talks Shoot 'Em Up". MTV. Archived from the original on December 7, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c McWeeny, Drew (June 8, 2007). "AICN's Exclusive Interview With The Director Of Shoot 'Em Up!!". Ain't It Cool News. Archived from the original on October 2, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b "Writers on Writing: Michael Davis on Shoot 'Em Up". Script Magazine. November 2, 2015. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017. Retrieved March 21, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c Scott, A. O. (September 7, 2007). "Never Mind Those Bullets, a Newborn Needs Rescuing". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 5, 2015. Retrieved September 7, 2007. 
  9. ^ a b c d "15 Explosive Facts About Shoot 'Em Up". IFC. Archived from the original on December 7, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c Chan, Budward (July 27, 2007). "Shoot 'Em Up Brings Down the House at Comic-Con". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on December 8, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h "Shoot 'Em Up: Full Production Notes". Media Atlantis. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017. Retrieved March 21, 2017. 
  12. ^ a b Moro, Eric; Collura, Scott (July 28, 2007). "SDCC 07: Exclusive: Shoot 'Em Up Takes Aim". IGN. Retrieved December 7, 2017. 
  13. ^ Weintraub, Steve (September 5, 2007). "Monica Bellucci Interview – Shoot 'Em Up". Collider.com. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017. Retrieved March 22, 2017. 
  14. ^ Villalobos, Brian (September 6, 2007). "Writer / Director Michael Davis Talks Shoot 'Em Up Part Two". MTV. Archived from the original on December 7, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017. 
  15. ^ Douglas, Edward (September 5, 2007). "Clive Owen on Shoot 'Em Up". ComingSoon.net. Archived from the original on December 8, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017. 
  16. ^ a b "Shoot 'Em Up [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]". AllMusic. Archived from the original on March 23, 2017. Retrieved March 22, 2017. Under 'Credits' tab, Haslinger is also credited as the soundtrack's producer. 
  17. ^ "Shoot 'Em Up". Soundtrack.Net. Archived from the original on March 23, 2017. Retrieved March 22, 2017. 
  18. ^ "Shoot 'Em Up [Music from the Motion Picture]". AllMusic. Retrieved December 12, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Shoot 'Em Up Music from the Motion Picture". Amazon. Archived from the original on March 23, 2017. Retrieved March 22, 2017. 
  20. ^ "Bullet Proof Baby". Archived from the original on October 9, 2008. 
  21. ^ Sorrel, Charlie (September 18, 2017). "Bulletproof Baby Stroller For the Smart Urban Baby". Wired. Archived from the original on December 22, 2016. Retrieved December 7, 2017. 
  22. ^ Rao, Shoba (August 24, 2007). "Bulletproof babywear, a viral marketing gag". news.com.au. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved December 7, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Mums gone mad". August 23, 2007. Archived from the original on July 24, 2012. 
  24. ^ Aftonbladet Archived August 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. (in Swedish) Här skjuter hon - på sin baby
  25. ^ Fritz, Ben (June 5, 2005). "Owen Targets "Shoot"". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved August 22, 2007. 
  26. ^ Vespe, Eric (September 14, 2006). "Crazy Clive Owen/Paul Giamatti flick, Shoot 'Em Up, tests! And.." Ain't It Cool News. Archived from the original on September 26, 2007. Retrieved August 22, 2007. 
  27. ^ Gray, Brandon (September 10, 2007). "3:10 to Yuma Arrives at Top Spot". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on March 11, 2017. Retrieved March 22, 2017. 
  28. ^ Blair, Andrew (April 25, 2017). "Shoot 'Em Up: revisiting a brilliantly daft action film". Den of Geek!. Dennis Publishing. Archived from the original on May 4, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2017. 
  29. ^ McCutcheon, David. "Shoot 'Em Up Caps Blu-ray". IGN. Archived from the original on October 27, 2007. Retrieved October 25, 2007. 
  30. ^ Liebman, Martin (February 21, 2008). "Shoot 'Em Up Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2016. Retrieved December 8, 2017. 
  31. ^ "Shoot 'Em Up (2007): Releases". AllMovie. Archived from the original on March 23, 2017. Retrieved March 22, 2017. 
  32. ^ "Shoot 'Em Up". Rotten Tomatoes. September 8, 2007. Archived from the original on September 17, 2007. Retrieved September 8, 2007. 
  33. ^ "Shoot 'Em Up (2007)". Metacritic. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017. Retrieved March 21, 2017. 
  34. ^ "Cinemascore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on November 27, 1999. Retrieved October 28, 2017. Type the film's title into the 'Find Cinemascore' search box. 
  35. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (September 6, 2007). "Shoot 'em up Movie Review & Film Summary". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on August 5, 2017. 
  36. ^ a b Travers, Peter (September 4, 2007). "Shoot 'Em Up". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 8, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2007. 
  37. ^ Scheck, Frank (August 20, 2007). "Shoot 'Em Up: Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on May 8, 2011. Retrieved December 7, 2017. 
  38. ^ Lumenick, Lou (September 7, 2007). "Gunplay Funplay". New York Post. Archived from the original on April 22, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2017. 
  39. ^ Burr, Ty (September 7, 2007). "Hits and misses aplenty in clever and sleazy 'Shoot 'Em Up'". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on December 8, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2017. 
  40. ^ Horton, Nick (March 11, 2016). "25 great action films that are 90 minutes or under". Den of Geek!. Dennis Publishing. Retrieved December 10, 2017. 

External links[edit]