Thursday, April 30, 2009

No Pretenses

We finally watched Shoot 'Em Up. The only reason why it took so long for us to see it was simply that we forgot about it, and it somehow slipped past our Netflix radar.

What it lacked (flashy fast cars, naked male torsos—one shot of Clive Owen's chest with a baby against it doesn't cut it—and hand-to-hand combat) it made up for in its unabashed homage to violence and, more specific, guns.

I have a game I play in theaters sometimes: I try to count how many guns are show in each preview. It's amusing, and also surprisingly telling of the level of action/violence of the previewed movie. Plus, it's incredible how many different guns can be shown in approximately thirty seconds. Thinking along the same vein, my goal at the start of the film was to keep a body count, just for the fun of it. I lost count within the first ten minutes, mainly after the first, very distracting kill with a carrot. (And here I thought vegetables were a rather peaceful food.)

My joy during the film, and the gruesome things I found funny, make me think I might be more bloodthirsty than I give myself credit for, but perhaps it was the sheer ridiculous of much of the action that I wholeheartedly enjoyed. How many times can the hero shoot accurately while the bad guys miss? Apparently, infinitely. What level of bodily harm can the hero take and still keep kicking—er—shooting? Infinite might possibly be the answer again: a car crash seemed only to improve his aim, torture only made him mad. (Though I'll admit that I left the room when the torture started, having no taste for violence that started to border on reality.)

Clive Owen was great in the film. I suppose Paul Giamatti was, too, but he gives me a bit of the creeps no matter what film he's in, so it's hard to admire him. It's not a movie you should go into thinking you're going to get depth and Academy-worthy performances, but it is definitely entertaining.

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