Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 37
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU: Donna, (Monica Bellucci, right), a prostitute who specializes in serving as a wet nurse to her customers who have breast feeding fetishes, is initIally suspicious when Smith, played by Clive Owen (not shown) shows up with a minutes-old newborn infant who will require nursing within the next hour or two. After overcoming her surprise she becomes attracted to the infant and agrees to help.

Shoot 'Em Up: Loner and Prostitute Team-Up to Save Newborn

Smith, a homeless drifter (Clive Owen) sitting at a bus stop, comes to the assistance of a pregnant woman (Ramona Pringle) who is being chased down the street by a couple of hoodlums. Fortunately, Smith happens to be a military veteran well versed in weapons and martial arts combat, a set of skills about to come in very handy since he's unwittingly angered Hertz (Paul Giamatti), a ruthless mobster who is the head of a gang of cutthroat assassins.

Smith starts to fight off the gang and simultaneously finds himself delivering the stranger's baby during the heat of battle. Unfortunately the mother dies when she is shot in the head and Smith realizes that he has an orphan on his hands. Knowing that the baby needs to be nursed he quickly makes his way to a house of ill repute in search of Donna (Monica Bellucci) a prostitute with a heart of gold whose specialty is catering to customers who have a fetish about breast feeding.

Understandably suspicious about why a customer would show up with a newborn baby, Donna is reluctant to assist until Hertz and company burst in with their guns blazing. Suddenly, both her maternal and survival instincts kick in, and, clutching the child, she follows Smith down into the streets for a non-stop chase that doesn't end till the curtain comes down on this heart-stopping roller coaster ride.

This is the unabashedly preposterous opening of Shoot 'Em Up, a tongue-in-cheek spoof of the action adventure genre. The picture delivers a stomach churning free-fall movie with plenty of bloodletting and even a little carnality tossed in for good measure.

Written and directed by Michael Davis, the story is riddled with so many gaping holes that it renders the plotline an irrelevant afterthought. However, this is not necessarily bad, especially when the filmmaker is unconcerned with character development or motivation and is more interested in filling the screen with scene after scene of gruesome violence.

Shoot 'Em Up appears to be a cross of two earlier Clive Owen movies, Sin City and Children of Men. The film shares the former's celebration of senseless slaughter and the latter's rescue of a baby. Owen turns in a mesmerizing performance as the dashing and debonair Mr. Smith, an 007-like hero who proves to be as impervious to bullets as he is irresistible to women. Equally impressive is Paul Giamatti who has perfected playing villains like the diabolical Hertz.

A one-dimensional cinematic treat best savored with one's brain on pause.

Excellent (4 stars). Unrated. Running time: 87 minutes. Studio: New Line Cinema.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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