Why Shoot ‘Em Up Is One Of The Most Misunderstood Action Movies Ever Made

If you’re a cinephile, there will be a handful of movies in your lifetime that you will feel the need to defend ardently, convinced that it’s a movie that most of the world just “didn’t get.” But even thinking that puts you at a disadvantage, because majority often rules. So one must choose their battles carefully.

Making a living evaluating, loving, and writing about films, I very rarely write the “all of you are wrong” articles, because I know that they can really force a writer into exile, especially depending on what portion of the audience he or she is calling out. In this case, involving the vastly misunderstood and wholly brilliant 2007 action film Shoot ‘Em Up, I have no problem pulling up a soapbox, grabbing a microphone, and letting 90% of the world know they were wrong about it.

This is not the silly action movie that most take it as. Just the three lead actors in the film alone should tell you that: Clive Owen, Monica Bellucci, and Paul Giamatti. Trust me, this is not THAT action movie. This is the movie that is completely mocking those movies, and doing so with Shakesperean levels of brilliance. Yes, I just name dropped Shakespeare in an article about Shoot ‘Em Up. Man, the comments are gonna get hairy, huh?

Don’t worry, I can promise you that you’ll feel less compelled to want to strangle me by the end of this article. Trust me.

Continue reading on the next page…

Comments (215)

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  1. TotesMcGotessays:

    Goddamit,I LOVE this movie. I agree wholeheartedly,how this is not a cult classic yet,I have no idea.

    1. Duder NMEsays:

      It doesn’t have its own annual fan convention, midnight showings with fans in costume, line of action figures, or following of so-called fans saying how much they hate it. All the better for Shoot Em Up, I’d say.

  2. Christian Luis Riverasays:

    I remember making the comment a months before this movie came out “that it would be so bad ass if you had a character kill people with a carrot.”

    1. sawyersolosays:

      love the sarcasm

      1. Christian Luis Riverasays:

        Actually I was being serious about that. I was impressed that he did it twice.

      2. sawyersolosays:

        …pretty badass…bwahahahahaha…death by vegetable

  3. jessesays:

    I fell in love with this movie with Clive ran the guy off the road because he did use his turn signal. So Classic! I can watch that scene a 1000x. Paul G as a villain who cares a lot his family with comical tones that just make you laugh. And Monica the women who is completely sexy but you would really think twice about if you reeeeaaaallllyyyy wanted to be with her. Nursing grown men I think not. Great movie, cleaver, edgy, and fresh. Catch the DVD for alternate ending see which one you prefer.

  4. Mikey Vegassays:

    That is a damn great action movie. Where else hou going tk see a carrot eating hero havs a shootout while in the middle of sex without loosing a beat one way or the other.

    1. Stupid Gitsays:

      With the exception of the carrot, I could name ten films off the top of my head that came out before this and have those elements. But, if you have a carrot fetish, then this is your movie.

      1. wongkarwaisays:

        Truth. The person who wrote this article obviously hasn’t seen very many films.

      2. sawyersolosays:


      3. sawyersolosays:


      4. Bobsays:

        Please name 10 movies that have shoot outs involving people in the middle of sex… I’ll wait.

  5. Michael Whitesays:

    Great movie, but what do I know. A few of my other favorite action movies are Operation Endgame and Machete!

    1. .Insane Wakadoosays:

      I loved Shoot’em Up, Operation Endgame was great. Shakespeare in Love, Dodge Ball, The Piano. Disliked LOTR. It takes all kinds. Love it, smile for the entertainment you enjoyed. Didn’t, don’t watch it again. Smile on your brother. Yep, I adored Surf’s Up too. And Schindler’s List. I know I’m late to the party, but comments to fun I had to throw in my uninteresting opinion as well. Ta.

  6. Zacksays:

    Any reason why Shoot’Em Up is misunderstood is because of bad timing; this movie came out the same year with Hot Fuzz, another action satire about British Blokes Blowing shit up. So there are bound to be comparisons between Shoot’Em Up and Hot Fuzz.

    The only difference between between the two action satires is pacing: Hot Fuzz is about build-ups & set-ups which all came together at an explosive, bloody trigger happy climax, while Shoot ‘Em is more like a “Fuck it, let’s do this” repeated assault on your common sense, each action scene trying to top another.

    1. sawyersolosays:

      that’s why fuzz is a better-constructed film

  7. Buggritsays:

    See also Crank & Crank 2: High Voltage

    1. ZombiWorkshopsays:

      Crank 1 = great. Crank 2 is one of the biggest piles of crap I’ve seen appear on film.

      1. Geoff Kirwansays:

        +1 above (crank 1 only great)

      2. ObvioiusAHolesays:

        Both were horribly great. Are you 2 assholes actually trying to state which Crank movies was better? Get an (internet) life.

      3. guestsays:

        You first.

  8. Nick Florestsays:

    FINALLY! Someone who gets what makes this movie so fun to watch!

    1. Stupid Gitsays:

      This movie has a 66% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. You’re part of the majority. It’s us naysayers who apparently need to write articles explaining how tired and stupid this film was as both satire and action movie.

      1. Nathanielsays:

        I’m sorry, who gives a shit about Rotten Tomatoes? It’s one freakin source, not the definitive universal opinion, you “Stupid Git”

      2. Do you know what Rotten Tomatoes is? It’s a site that collects reviews from all the major sources and offers an average – a film review aggregator.

        Also, it’s got 6.7 out of 10 stars on IMDB.

        To be fair, Metacritic has it at 49%, so it’s half & half there.

        Again, my point is that liking this film is not some rarity… it’s pretty common.

      3. Stupid Gitsays:

        Rotten Tomatoes is a film rating site that uses and aggregate score to rate films. So, it’s “one source” that gives you ratings based on the top critics and audience polls. You might as well dismiss the US Census as “one source” as well.

      4. sawyersolosays:


  9. Cody Taylorsays:

    I’d rank Last Action Hero up there as well, even higher than Shoot Em’ Up just because it actively tells the viewer it’s a parody. In my opinion the best, most obvious parody of the entire action genre that grouped together the cheesiness, massive explosions, and self-awareness to make my favorite Arnold movie bar none. Seeing the characters realize the difference between their perfect bubble of a movie and the real world was just genius, and Danny’s steady questioning of how all laws of physics are being broken while in the movie world was hilarious. Then there’s the villain Benedict breaking the fourth wall and talking right to the audience…one of the most underrated films I’ve ever seen and all because of an idiotic audience too stupid to appreciate how truly great it was. I have no doubt that if LAH was to release today, people would be praising it.

    1. Bob S. Yourunclesays:

      You hit it right on in describing LAH. I need to watch it again. Thanks for reminding me.

    2. Remy Carreirosays:

      TOTALLY agree about Last Action Hero. Well put my friend.

  10. Benjisays:

    Bravo. No one could have explained this movie better. It’s just a shame it needed to be broke down into the most lame-n-est terms. Otherwise. Thank you for muting the nay-sayers on this one.

  11. CyberianGinsengsays:

    This movie was absolutely hilarious. I split my sides. It was almost a spoof of Schwarzenegger-Stalone style action movies. It certainly was meant to be taken seriously.

    1. sawyersolosays:

      “it was almost a spoof”
      “It certainly WAS meant to be taken seriously”

      1. CyberianGinsengsays:

        Typo. “wasn’t”

      2. Remy Carreirosays:

        Sawyer, get inside, your Mom put your lunchable on your high chair an hour ago….

  12. BobOziersays:

    This movie is soooooooooooo incredibly booooooring!! That’s why no one likes it. Shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot – pause for “witty” quip – shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot (and at this point you’re probably saying that the word “shoot” IS actually IN the title, to which I reply: so what??) shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot – stupid action scene where no shooting is involved, followed soon after by shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot. All that shooting and I STILL had to fight to stay awake. Nope, in this case the 90%’ers got it exactly right. I’d rather watch Star Trek V than this movie again. Oy!

    1. Stupid Gitsays:

      Sadly, Shoot Em Up got a fresh rating on RT and the writer got that 90% stat from the same dark place they got the idea that no one got the joke that a film called “Shoot Em Up” was a satire of shoot ’em ups.

    2. sawyersolosays:

      right…guess we didn’t get it

      1. Remy Carreirosays:

        You are a fiery lover, Sawyer, and I miss your warm embrace.

      2. sawyersolosays:

        not really getting the sexual comments “rubs nips?” “I miss your warm embrace?” overcompensate much?

  13. Dalinkwentsays:

    This was a good defense of the film. I made the same points to my friends when they all seemed to blast the movie after the first viewing. I made it clear its supposed to be a sort of parody of old action films and wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. I mean the opening scene makes that pretty clear. Plus Clive and Paul are some of my favorite actors to watch on screen. That alone makes the film worth a watch.

    1. stephanie767says:

      My Uncle Owen just got Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid by working part-time off of a computer… learn this here now w­w­w.J­A­M­20.c­o­m

      1. Ryansays:

        Uhm, didn’t Stormtroopers kill your Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru on Tatooine ?

      2. guestsays:

        Uncle Owen this Pathfinder has a bad motivator.

      3. Ellen Yarbroughsays:

        Guess you won’t be going to Toshi Station….

      4. Caeliensays:

        This is the best reply to spam I’ve ever seen, kudos to all involved

      5. Jesse Hanowellsays:

        too bad you fucked it up.

      6. Je Ar D Bagussays:

        You should’ve just kept it to yourself.

      7. Duder NMEsays:

        Good thing Threepio’s first job was programming Hybrid Pathfinders, very similiar to a Prias in most respects….

      8. William Conwaysays:

        They OD’d on blue milk

    2. bsoøhEsays:

      So What??? Owen my ass…….

    3. Seansays:

      I am dumbfounded that people think this film was supposed to be serious. It was a fucking genius parody, I love, love, love this film. Seriously underrated

  14. Pigsleysays:

    I too love this movie and wish people wouldn’t under appreciate it.

  15. sawyersolosays:

    everything you say is obvious…yeah, spoof…but not entertaining or original…hot fuzz did it way better, funnier and was a lot more engaging, but just as unrealistic…if there was an element of comedy it would have worked better…it’s been done many times before

    1. sawyersolosays:

      in other words it still fails…as entertainment, and as spoof if, as you claim, 90% of audience didn’t get it, then the filmakers failed, and you’re so insightful

      1. Remy Carreirosays:

        I like how you had to comment back to yourself because I am ignoring you. That makes me laugh. I am you’re right. I am way off, so are the 466 likes. 468 of us are wrong and you are right. The pic and comment scream troll.

      2. sawyersolosays:

        not trolling at all, expressing my true opinion…those 2 comments were made moments from each other…i had more to add…and it’s faster than editing for some reason…certainly wasn’t hanging on your response…i picked my avatar b/c it’s amusing…not trying to elicit any type of reaction. your reasons for liking the movie are mine for disliking it…not trying to be “right”…imo it’s not an original or “smart” film as others have commented as well…engaging in discourse ( Take a good lood at the thread…lots of negative comments )

      3. Remy Carreirosays:

        No, no. It is trolling. Make no mistakes…

      4. sawyersolosays:

        i would not consider any of my comments “inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic” which is what a troll does to illicit an argument just – because. just disagree as many others do…

      5. Real_Irwinsays:

        Remy, this guy is obviously not trolling. Can you just let him express his opinion? Why are you getting so defensive?

      6. Remy Carreirosays:

        If you check out the conversation a little bit further down, I told him I appreciated him giving countering points, and sort of apologized for being such a dick. But also, in the same breath, I am sort of here playing the “bad guy”, so I may as well have a little fun with it.

      7. as;as;says:

        You may as well shut up… No one here is really here for you, Remy Carreiro. You’re really, really not as important as you believe yourself to be.

      8. Remy Carreirosays:

        Then why are you engaging me, pumping up my ego even more?

      9. Bobsays:

        If you look at all the comments Sawyer is clearly trolling, either that or a close family member died on the set of shoot me up. He’s left way too many pointless responses to not be trolling. Oh and Sawyer you actually said Hot Fuzz is just as unrealistic as Shoot Em Up? You are officially a moron. Stop trying so hard and get a life.

  16. Geoffsays:

    I’m glad someone has made a point by point case for this movie. Only so that I can now say, “Yeah, I got all that and it was still horribly stupid”

    If you didn’t get the Loony Tunes reference in the first 20 minutes, I imagine this was an even bigger, more painful mess to watch. I also imagine you’d either never seen Loony Tunes, or were mildly (perhaps fully) retarded.

    As a life-long fan of Bugs and friends, I was embarrassed. For myself, for the director, the writer, the actors, it was just terrible.
    I love the cast, Owen and Giamatti are some of my favorite actors, but there was no point in this movie that was redeeming enough to even give it a pass. It was bad. SO bad. I (mistakenly) bought it in a $2 bin at Wal-Mart and have always wanted my $2 back.
    After listening to you try and defend this cinematic abortion, I kindof want an apology from director Michael Davis, as well.
    I’m usually an avid researcher of movies (I see enough that it’s worth my time to avoid the bad ones) but Davis was an unknown quantity to me, at the time. Looking, now at the list of steaming turds he calls a resume, I’m not shocked at all that this movie turned out to be such a clown shoe.
    To be fair, I was taught a valuable lesson; Never see a Michael Davis film again.

    1. Stupid Gitsays:

      Thank you. I too got all the “sarcasm” and references – and I love terribly cheesy action movies – yet still found this one unbearable. To each their own, but this was not like a Verhoeven film where the mainstream audience overlooked his brilliant sociopolitical commentary, this was just bad.

      Oh, and you’re right about how if someone didn’t get the Bugs Bunny reference they most likely are dumb as a box of rocks… yet still not dumb enough to think this film was smart.

    2. sawyersolosays:


    3. SomeGuysays:

      Yes, indeed, the third group of people is somewhat ignored (the people who got it but hated it). Honestly, it was pretty hard to miss the fact that the movie was trying to be funny and over-the-top on purpose, that didn’t make it any better for me, I still thought it sucked. Why? Because I sat there, watching it, waiting for it to be over because I was SO bored and when I finally couldn’t take it anymore I just stopped it in the middle and never finished it. This movie is just like that guy who tries a little too hard to be funny and it’s just awkward for everyone.

  17. Amy Csays:

    Thank you! This is exactly what I love about the movie put into well contrived sentences. Bravo!

    1. sawyersolosays:

      contrived: unlike reality: unrealistic and unconvincing

      1. lobster_johnsonsays:

        “contrive. verb. Create or bring about (an object or a situation) by deliberate use of skill and artifice”.

      2. sawyersolosays:

        artifice: clever, trick…insincere behavior: the deception of people using cleverness or subtlety

      3. narcolepticslothsays:

        subtlety: the quality or state of being subtle.

      4. Taco: A corn tortilla folded around a filling such as ground meat or cheese.

      5. Courtland Bibbsays:

        Win: The opposite of fail; when something of awesomeness happens.

  18. Super8rockssays:

    Most 80’s action movies are already spoofs though. I mean, Commando has some of the funniest lines I’ve ever heard in a movie. Plus, how much of that could actually happen? I knew what Shoot em Up was doing when I saw it, and liked it. Though the movie does wear me out when I watch it. I don’t think people hate the movie because they don’t understand the things you say though. I think they just don’t like it cuz it’s a hit or miss type of movie. Crank is a great movie to watch with this one too.

    1. ssadramsays:

      “These guys eat too much red meat!” from Commando is the greatest line of action movie dialog ever.

  19. Stupid Gitsays:

    First, it’s called: “Shoot ‘Em Up”. If someone is too dumb to know the movie is a satire of shoot ’em ups than they’re too dumb to understand satire. This goes for all the “jokes” and “satire” in this film which are so obvious as to be unfunny, witless and just plain irritating.

    Second, Paul Giamatti was also in Rock of Ages, Fred Clause, Lady in the Water, Big Momma’s House, and that atrocious looking new Romeo & Juliet thing. I love the guy, but him being in a film is just as often a warning as it is an invitation.

    Third, Get over your persecution complex. This movie has a 66% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. You’re part of the majority apparently.

    1. as;as;says:

      Ok, so if I’m to judge a movie by its title… Then Blade Runner should be about a guy running around holding a blade in his hands? Or holding a blade in his hands? Or having something to do with someone running, and a blade of some kind? Please, please PLEASE shut up Stupid Git… For all our sakes. You speak, I feel intelligence slipping out of the human gene pool.

  20. Werner Goringsays:

    Bravo, Mr Hero, Bravo…

    1. sawyersolosays:

      the hero of the stupid (we finally have one)!

      1. Remy Carreirosays:

        HAHAHAHA, oh my God, new fave internet troll, without a doubt. Dude, I would kiss you right now….

      2. sawyersolosays:

        why so bothered?

  21. wongkarwaisays:

    Wow. The writer of this article is a noob to film.

    1. sawyersolosays:


      1. Remy Carreirosays:

        That’s why I have two thousand movie articles published online, my own site, and you guys are sitting home, naked, on Snapchat. Yes., I am clearly the noob here.

  22. toz23says:

    Couldn’t agree more. One of the all time greats, and if there was any justice in this world the director should have been handed the keys to Hollywood and told to go play after making this hugely underrated classic

    1. sawyersolosays:

      enjoy the sarcasm

      1. Remy Carreirosays:

        Are you the balloon, or the ugly human behind the balloon?

  23. raisetheboozesays:

    I basically love everything about this movie. From Smith’s character to the baby. It has this indie film to it, like having different weird characters on one film, and yes, like a cartoon/anime.

  24. pauljsays:

    I of course completely missed all the underlying (clever?) stuff in this film when I saw it on the idiot box recently.
    However I did note that it was very stylish with cool gunfights and and was suprised I hadn’t heard at least something about it. It entertained me immensely.
    Sigh yet again I am made to feel like a plank by somebody who actually gets the subtle stuff.

    1. sawyersolosays:

      so subtle

      1. Remy Carreirosays:

        Man, whoever wrote this article is such a LAMEY LAME LAME….

      2. sawyersolosays:

        correct…know thyself

  25. fairportfansays:

    Thank you.

    You have resolved the last lingering doubt i had as to whether to rent this film on DVD.


    Your description makes it clear that it is actually (hard as it might seem to believe) even WORSE than the trailers made it look.

    1. sawyersolosays:


      1. Remy Carreirosays:

        Seriously man, get off the thread, you are killing it. You reek of sad desperation. Actually, keep going, this is fun…

      2. sawyersolosays:

        responding with agreement…is deperation? defensive much?

  26. I feel substantially less weird now for laughing through the whole film.

  27. Jarvis Cashsays:

    Brilliant article, loved the movie, but it was only on the second viewing I really “got the joke”. Now I know what Im going to be watching tonight.

  28. Everything you’re saying in this article is obvious. I don’t think people missed the point of the film. They got what it was doing. But some people didn’t like it. It’s called subjectivity.

    1. sawyersolosays:

      excellent comment

      1. Remy Carreirosays:

        And your comment about his comment, good sir? DOUBLE EXCELLENT!
        *rubs nips

  29. Natesays:

    I don’t even need to read this article. Shoot ‘Em Up is one of the greatest action movies ever made. I’d love to find a computer background wallpaper of the guy at the end of the movie with his middle finger up going, “Shut Up And Sit On This, Asshole!!!!!” I probably rewound and froze that part 100 times or more, LOL!!! Go watch it and pause that part:) His expression is priceless!! And when you do, I’m sure you’ll all agree with me:)

    1. sawyersolosays:

      his point was not that it was one of the greatest action movies ever made, but that it was the worst, on purpose…b/c it was satirical (not sure if he knew that was his point, tho)

  30. Remy Carreirosays:

    I just want you all to know you just renewed my faith in the movie going public as a whole. And thank you for all the kind words and awesome feedback, it is very appreciated.

    1. sawyersolosays:

      thank god for you…if you had totally lost faith, what would we have done?

      1. Remy Carreirosays:

        Batfleck, leave me alone. No one likes you.

      2. sawyersolosays:

        instead of crying, why don’t you respond to the tons of criticisms here

      3. Remy Carreirosays:

        I don’t know who you are, or why you feel so important, but I didn’t make the film, nor is it my job to defend it. Hell, I don’t even need to come on here to respond to comments. This is NOT part of my job, I simply choose to do this because interacting with other movie fans is a joy I get from this gig.
        That being said, interacting with whiny movie douches and trolls is one thing I hate about it. There are 2000 words right there that make my point, I find it fucking ADORABLE you think I need to respond to anything. I am simply responding to you right now because I think you are equal parts sad and entertaining. I also like that you are commenting “excellent comment” on the comments of people who didn’t like the movie, like you wrote the fucking piece or something.
        Come on man, you can keep this going, but you seem sad. Like, really, really sad.
        Like ” twenty two and live at home in my Mom’s basement and live vicariously through internet comments because of my lack of real life and lack of confidence, as reflected in my use of a fake name and silly avatar to hide behind, and am a huge fan of Brazzers, Reddit, and Naruto” sad.

      4. sawyersolosays:

        dude, i’m not attacking you personally, at all. myself and many others here disagree with your opinion, and you seemingly can’t deal…that’s cool, but you’re coming off real badly…b/c i agree w/ naysayers, you take it as a personal assault…that’s fine too…i have thick skin…if you post an unpopular opinion or review, expect to get disagreed with…i was only asking for you to respond to some of the criticisms being posted, as most do when receiving a contrasting point of view. the more you attack me the less validity your review has and you just appear as a reactionary.
        what else you got, hoss?

      5. Remy Carreirosays:

        I like you. I need you. Things like this keep the threads fresh, and keep the conversation open.
        Yes, I think you commenting on every comment is a little weird, and yes, I totally act like a dick about it sometimes, but in the same breath, I am man enough to recognize that we need both sides represented, and you represent the other side, which is needed.
        Agree to disagree, I think.
        And that Hoss thing was pure gold.
        You had me at Hoss.

      6. sawyersolosays:

        fair enough, well said…hoss

      7. sawyersolosays:

        by writing this review you have taken it as your job to defend it…it’s the whole purpose of the article.

      8. sawyersolosays:

        you seemingly enjoy interacting w/ other movie fans as long as they agree w/ you

      9. sawyersolosays:

        most people, unless they work in the public eye, or are children who don’t know any better, post on message boards using a psuedonym to avoid backlash from controversial opinions, and to avoid being identified by people choosing to do them or their family harm, or future, or current employers who may take their comments (political, sexual or otherwise) as a reason to fire or not employ them.
        I can keep this up as long as you continue to. You have already maxed out, and are taking the personal route, which shows a lack of restraint and intellectual capacity.

      10. Smooth Moosesays:

        They’re not controversial opinions though.
        You’re further cementing Remy’s point that some people just won’t get it. The fact that instead of just saying “I don’t like it” and moving on, you’re hanging around trolling the whole goddamn comments section, shows that you actually think you have something to prove. I know this was last year, and I hope you’re less of a douche now.

      11. sawyersolosays:

        it’s called discourse. the opinion is controversial to the author of the article and to others on the board. in looking at your other comments around the web, i see you’re not that intelligent anyway, so it’s understandable why you’re constantly wrong…namecalling doesn’t help your case…why so mad bro?

      12. Smooth Moosesays:

        Dude, I never claimed to be intelligent, but that’s besides the point.
        You’re right, I could have put that better “I hope you act like less of a douche now.”

  31. This movie sucked. Gigantically. An anti-gun shoot-’em-up? It was like watching a porno made with young Hollywood stars, all unprotected sex, casual, promiscuous, perverted… and then ends with a “Don’t do sex, kids!” moment. Cringe-worthy indeed.

  32. Mind The Gapsays:

    I liked the film. It’s only failing was pacing. While many applaud a “nonstop frenetic” action movie for relentlessness, we need downtime to process things.

    This movie just doesn’t give enough time for that, to take a breathe and appreciate what we’ve seen. I liken it to a shaky cam during what would otherwise be an amazing fight scene (like Jet Li vs Dolph Lundgren in Expendables), we just aren’t allowed to appreciate it.

    However, the movie is all the better for being fun DESPITE this failing. It would simply become EPIC had they allowed a BIT more downtime.

  33. Paul Chantersays:

    “So if you are watching Shoot Em Up, thinking you are watching an action film in the realest sense of the word, you are setting yourself up not to like this movie”?



  34. Action Movie Fanatixsays:

    So is the idea of satire is to make a really crappy version of something and when people say it sucks you just say “you didn’t get it, it’s satire.”

    Think my boss will buy that?

  35. Honeyluster Aliassays:

    They talk the same, both character due to poor writing skills talk exactly the same. They have no separate identities. Some people have no taste. Even for what is OBVIOUS of what this film was. It was a mess. 5 dollar bin, instantly, for a reason.

  36. Spot on analysis! I *love* SHOOT ‘EM UP for all the reasons you point out! 🙂

  37. TLewissays:

    Very well said! Always loved this movie. Not only is Owen an homage to Bugs Bunny but Giamatti is without a doubt Elmer Fudd in this film.

  38. Justin Kuhnsays:

    I’ve made note of the same things and tried to tell others. But other people are idiots. oh well

  39. Josh Clinesays:

    THANK YOU! I have been singing the praises for this movie for years now, and no one believes me. One major line from Giamatti’s character is, “Aren’t you a waskly wabbit.” Dead givaway that he is a mean spirited Elmer Fudd/Yosemite Sam.

  40. tankatemysandwichessays:

    you are seriously the first person ive ever seen notice it was bugs bunny versus Yosemite Sam, no one else catches it and thinks im crazy!!

    1. Loved the movie. I had no idea so many people didn’t?!? Oh well. I feel sorry for people like you. I TRULY do. You sit on your soapbox explaining why everything in life sucks, as opposed to being able to understand why sooooo many things are awesome and just enjoying them. lol.

      With that said, I guess I’m an idiot too because I missed the Bugs Bunny thing? Oh well, thank goodness I’m not a douche therefore I will enjoy this film on a whooole different level when I get off of this computer and proceed to Wal-Marts cheap bin to look for it. Gonna go ahead and look for a torrent to start downloading before I leave just in case that fails lol. THanks guys!!!!

      1. S.T. Funkensays:

        I guess you wanted to reply to Justin Kuhn, maybe?

  41. deathmonger420 .says:

    I totally agree I LOVED this movie and everyone I talk to about didn’t….I love how he eats carrots.

  42. I am a retardsays:

    Jay and Silent Bob are stupid characters and should be fucked up their stupid asses… oh wait this isn’t Movie Poop Shoot .com?? I would have thought so by the retarded ass comments here. And not Autistic rerarded, but Simple Jack style full retard. Never go full retard.

  43. Crispinosays:


  44. Douchenozzle Hipsterfailsays:

    Well done. In fact …

    (Click to read next thought)

  45. Jose Fabiansays:

    Can’t stand neither the writing style nor the glaring grammatical errors: “than” when you mean “then”? I Hope you’re not getting paid for this, otherwise I’m itching to take your job. Regardless, much has been said already that I need not parrot.

  46. John Taylorsays:

    That’s the title, really?

  47. ICreatedUsays:

    Bang on the money Honeyluster Alias!

    That’s exactly the thing: the pathetic attempt to
    pay tribute to everything we use to cherish as kid was demystified on
    the spot at first viewing and recognized as what it was, a pathetic

    There’s a lot a ways to honor the 80’s and 90’s, but this wasn’t one of them.

    It’s not like we don’t get the satire “undertone” of the flick, the movie wasn’t shit
    IN SPITE of the reasons you mentioned, in fact, it was shit BECAUSE of

    As if basing an action movie figure on Buggs Bunny has ever been a good thing….

    My humble opinion anyway…

  48. Andrewsays:

    This review is spot on. I grabbed ‘Shoot Em Up’ from a Blockbuster bargain bin with no preconceptions of the movie and definitely got my moneys worth. ‘Shoot Em Up’ is a raucous black comedy and pitch perfect parody of American action movies from the 80’s hence. I loved every moment of this movie, from Clive Owen’s deadpan portrayal of sociopath do-gooder, to Paul Giamatti’s side-splitting performance of one of the most hilariously sadistic villains in movie history. This is a gem of a self-aware, self-referential movie that goes big from the very beginning until the last bullet is fired.

    1. Chrissays:

      I agree. The only thing I’m iffy on is the confusing political stances the film has on gun control. If it’s meant to make fun of the hypocrisy of hollywood’s and the media’s and mainstream liberal arguments against gun control then I love it. If it’s trying to actually say something serious in all of the awesome cartoonish ridiculousness, it almost ruins the movie. Actually either way I would prefer they had left politics out of it.

  49. exesays:

    The funny thing is, many people (I know at least) got directly what it was all about: A over-the-top-parody with goofy scenes and … well, that’s just it. The whole thing is pretty one note. The gag with Owen is, that he is so laid back and “over-the-top”, the gag with Giamatti is, that he’s a supposedly evil basterds who is pretty damn pussy-wiped and the gag with the pretty lady is, that she’s just a pretty thing and nothing more. Well woop-di-freakin’-do, for about 90 minutes, that is very weak, because after all these one note-not-interesting-because they are just over-the-top-parodies-characters, there are just the overly choreographed shootouts which in itself loose nearly all of their fascination, because IT IS AN OVER THE TOP PARODIE where nobody gets seriously invested in the ridiculous-bullshit.

    So, yeah, maybe the misunderstanding is, that the discribtions above in your article are the very points that make it sucky. If it was a little less goofy, and a little more serious, the action-scenes would’ve been much more entertaining and, for all purposes, more thrilling. Because here, they weren’t because of the stupid parodie-tone of the movie.

    It’s not a terrible movie, but at the end just pretty one note and forgetfull.

    1. .Insane Wakadoosays:

      I thought the hero heroic. Heroine was never judged. Evil plot. Sinister villain. Bad guys die. Hero saves the day. Reunited. Little family. Justice prevails. And really, where in the world will you see that much bad-ass shootouts? Fun times.

  50. Remy Carreirosays:

    The actual director of this film just wrote me and thanked me for how spot-on and astute this was, and my face is still melting as a result. Wow, check AND mate!

  51. SomeGuysays:

    I didn’t misunderstand the movie and I don’t think as many people did as you think did. I felt the points you made were plainly obvious, especially the Buggs Bunny one. I understand these points, I accepted them when I watched the movie, and I still did not enjoy it, because some ideas just don’t translate well. The movie was a successful execution of what it set out to do, but that does not make it a good movie.

  52. Kevin Cahillsays:

    thought this movie was awesome from start to finish

  53. Jackie Jormpjompsays:

    I loved this film when I saw it at the theaters. The first thing I turned and said as we were leaving theater was, “you realize he was Bugs Bunny right?” That alone was enough to love this flick. Hugely entertaining and underrated.

  54. Jackie McGriffsays:

    I loved this movie within the first 5 minutes. I could not agree with you more about ‘Shoot Em Up’. People really don’t get it and it’s a shame!

  55. Nir Shalevsays:

    Is this post a joke? If anyone watches this film and doesn’t see that Owen’s chewing on carrots and doesn’t hear Elmer, ugh, I mean Giamatti at one point say “Oh you’re a wascally wabbit”, then they didn’t actually watch the film. It’s impossible to not notice that this is a Bugs and Elmer story. Impossible. And someone wasted precious words on explaining this to people like its revelatory.

    That being said, it is a decent article (for those that truly and utterly dumb) and I do love the film. :O)

  56. Scottsays:

    I like your approach to the movie. Five minutes in, I couldn’t stop laughing at how the movie treated some of the most earnest tropes in action films with nothing like reverence. Paul Giamatti makes the movie work! Also, the plot tries so hard to have a strong anti-gun message. As I’ve explained to friends, it was like having Jenna Jameson doing a porn film about abstinence. Ridiculous and ironic! Love this movie, own it, and I watch it when I can.

  57. Ray Spijksays:

    This movie was awesome.

  58. Michelle Kirkwoodsays:

    Actually this film was a spoof of John Woo classic Hong Kong action movie flicks—HARD-BOILED in particular–if you liked those, you might appreciate SHOOT ‘EM UP a little more. I have to admit here were some parts of it I didn’t like, a but I loved the HK-styled action sequences, and I like seeing Clive Owen in anything–this is one of the most outrageous roles he’s ever done, and he gets to be funny for a change!

  59. Jacob Potempasays:

    shoot em’ up was a great movie yes its mocking but come on it was great script could of been abit better but the story was amazing give it some credit and don’t be an ass about it. now if you want a stupid movie PA1-4 sucked (paranormal

  60. Nasrareddy Maddikaraasays:

    Video is really good,

    You may find many videos that will give you lot of fun and entertainment and more.


  61. Matsays:

    WoW. I didn’t know this movie was misunderstood and bashed. If someone didn’t get it they must have been be vegetarians.

  62. yetisays:

    My grandfather and I love this movie, but then again I also like Hansel and Gretel

    1. Viktor Gigsays:


  63. Terrencesays:

    The author is an idiot. Those weren’t points they were just him going “IT WAS SO RIDICULOUS!”

    Yes, because it aimed to be campy. However the performances were uninspired and off-timed, and the movie had poor pacing for a campy film.

    I used to love it when I was a teen, now I can see that it’s just silly fun with no substance. Nothing spectacular. A shallow experience.

    1. JaySBeesays:

      Actually, they WERE points. I knew that “Shoot ‘Em Up” was a send up of Bugs Bunny cartoons before I read this article. I figured it out on my own because I studied film and they make reference after reference to Bugs in it (Giamatti even refers to Owen as “that rascally rabbit” in one line). Right after I saw the movie (when it came out) I went to read up on it and was validated by seeing an article that supported my theory.

      Look, I know action films are fun and you may not like the idea of them being “deep” or “artistic”, but there is a reason film-making is one of the ARTS. Sometimes- even in an action film- a director decides to go a bit deeper and make a statement. When he can do that without alienating people who “hate art films”, he is officially BRILLIANT. If he can make an ART film that wannabe art people HATE because they don’t actually GET that it’s art, so much the better.

      “Shoot ‘Em Up” is a perfect example of that. Look at your post. You are actually RESISTANT to the idea that the movie was played on multiple levels. You liked it so much on the SURFACE level (as a kid), that it seems like an IMPOSSIBLE stretch that it was meant to be seen on a deeper level (for an adult), too.

      I’d say that makes it a GREAT film.

      1. Viktor Gigsays:

        Well said.

  64. Steifon Passmoresays:

    I loved this movie and everything about it the first time I saw it! In fact, I watched it with two friends, and it was SO EPIC that when it ended we immediately watched it AGAIN! True. Story!

  65. docsays:

    My problem with the movie was that it was trying to have it both ways by playing it straight faced with waaay over the top action. It didn’t work for me. Maybe I need to watch it again.

  66. nirish77says:

    You see I agree wholeheartedly but I also feel exactly the same way about the first Starship Troopers. Im mocked for liking it and yet it is the cheesiness that makes it brilliant.

  67. Ellen Yarbroughsays:

    I thought this movie was fantastic. It’s so hilarious! The brothel scene is a hoot and Paul Giamatti is fantastic as a sadistic villain. The sky diving scene completely took me by surprise and Clive Owen’s character has such a thing for driving safety…when he’s not shooting people. There are so many great surprises and the violence is so absurd you just have to enjoy it. I’m surprised to hear people DiDN’T like it.

  68. Andrewsays:

    This was top entertainment, 1 of which I like to watch again. Well done to all involved, I was/am entertained.

  69. James Bettinsonsays:

    It also has a powerful anti fire arms message, the c.e.o of the gun company has a speech extolling the virtues of how guns make the weak powerful and is killed by his own weapon

  70. chrissays:

    I picked up it was taking a dig at action films but not the cartoon reference

  71. ds;ds;ds;says:

    This movie sucked. Period.

  72. Lateef Murdocksays:

    And, not only is Clive Bugs Bunny, but Giamatti is Yosimatti Sam. I got it from the get go and really enjoyed this film. Just so you know, I’m the type of guy who values story over action. But, this one had it’s on special charm. Loved it.

  73. Mbuildssays:

    Absolutely spot on assessment, its a film not a documentary you pretensous boobs. if you don’t get it, admit it, don’t act like the movie is the problem, just so we don’t realize you are the kind of people that think American Idol is good television. It’s like the people who always say they think a horror movie was “funny” so we can’t tell it scared the crap out of them…we can tell!!
    Now I really want to watch Shoot Em Up all over again. Thanks

  74. Brew Swillissays:

    Couldn’t agree more! Always thought this movie was underrated….laughed my a-off!

  75. Marcos Galperinsays:

    I have always loved this movie since it came out, always said it was a Bugs Bunny and lets not forget the jumping out of the plane shoot out. Wished they would make a sequel to it it was so much fun to watch.

  76. Jason C. Flaysays:

    Oh For Christ Sake people! It’s a ridiculous fun movie, that does not have a plot or deep meanings, just pulp fiction pure and simple, it’s not Citizen Kane! Yes it’s over the top, yes the characters are extreme versions of themselves, and no it’s not going to change cinema history, it’s just an entertaining movie!

    1. Je Ar D Bagussays:

      Much like Deadpool.

  77. Russell Jack Whites Cortezsays:

    i love this movie i knew what it was from the start and i can careless of what others say because i enjoy all films even the crappy ones because it means the world is still creative even if its not properly executed.

  78. David G.says:

    Great article, glad that I stumbled upon it. There is a precedent here. In 2004, I reviewed writer-director Michael Davis’ “Monster Man” for an industry journal. I really enjoyed the film and, a couple of months later, I got a note from Davis, thanking me for being the only reviewer who really “got” what he was trying to do.

  79. Romeo Garciasays:

    Agreee!!!..This is one of the best action movies i ever see!!!…Owen make a great action and the action scenes are awesome!!!

  80. Feelinesays:

    What about the group of people who understood the movie, considering every single thing you mentioned was blatantly obvious to anyone with half a brain.. but still thought it was dumb and a waste of time? How does anyone not realize the points you mentioned? Are you trying to act / be smart with this article? You’re failing. Hard. A film analysis which one wants taken seriously on a website needs to bring new insight, especially if they’re defending it or trying to prove a point. All you did was point out blatantly obvious things which anyone who saw it knew was blatantly obvious, and use that as a defense. Bad movie. Bad article. Bad author. All around awful. You should feel ashamed lol.

  81. Emil Van Boxemsays:

    I actually agree on most of these points. I thoroughly enjoyed SMU

  82. Road rage scene is superbsays:

    I’m happy that you enjoyed this movie as much as I did but I’m stunned you had to defend it in the first place. It is a classic action flick in its own right and also a sardonic, ironic, wry, mocking smile at the genre.
    All that aside it is FUN and, seriously, if anyone needs this explained to them, well, sigh.

  83. Goldiloxsays:


  84. triptikonsays:

    I thought he ate carrots because its good for your eye sight and he was just that hardcore : /

  85. real_world_truthsays:

    I saw it first at a good old fashioned drive in and the very first thought I had at the opening sequence was ‘what’s up, doc?’. Loved Clive and Paul so much even before this movie and after that first viewing, they became two of my cinematic ‘gods’.

  86. bobsays:

    you’re just describing the film, not backing up your opinion.

  87. Four pages? Really?! Website pagination is evil. Get your ad revenue some other way. I’m taking a personal stand against this BS. Put it all on a single page. How hard is that?

  88. kid egosays:

    I agree this is a good defense of the movie. However if you’re gonna make a cartoon just make a cartoon…..

  89. Darren Peachsays:

    I like this. I thought the Movie was making fun of the Idea of Making a Video Game Movie. But I like your Explanation better.

  90. Ryan Perezsays:

    This was not misunderstood. Its very obviously a Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd story. It was just done extremely poorly. Though, i will say; a couple buddies, a few drinks, and this film becomes quite entertaining…in an ironic sort of way.

  91. Mr. Leesays:

    I bought this movie hearing about it, and thought it was great……..right up until the massively too-retarded-to-be-parody anti gun message that is consequently rammed down our throats.

    It’s a massive pile of shit. When you try to make a non-political movie for whatever reason, keep your fucking politics out of it.

  92. Crikeysays:

    In my opinion one of the best but also most insane action movies out there. Good breakdown of the movie indeed.

    Well done thank you. I will use this to convince my friends this movie is bleeping AWESOME!!!!!!!

  93. areyoureallyserioussays:

    I HATED this movie the first time I saw it. I didn’t get it. I expected it to be played straight and felt totally ripped off. I saw it again a few nights later and that’s when it started to hit me: this is not supposed to be 100% serious. I felt like an idiot of course. Ever since then it is appointment viewing whenever it’s on. I won’t say I love it yet, but I do love the confused stares of people when they see how much I’m enjoying this film.

  94. Josiane Ochmansays:

    Blood Ties is probably even less well known than this one yet it’s a phenomenal film directed by the Frenchman Guillaume Canet. It’s not a parody, I won’t quote Shakespeare it’s a stand alone fantastic script with great actors. Highly recommended.

  95. Todd AngelHawk Clarksays:

    I freakin LOVE Shoot-em-Up. For all the reasons you just listed.

  96. Lindsay81says:

    I fell in love with this movie when I first saw it in theaters. I thought it was a fantastic movie, especially realizing early after the movie started what in fact I was in for.

  97. Je Ar D Bagussays:

    I loved this movie, I didn’t know why until I read this article and I was like… “Oh, right! That’s why!”

  98. sawyersolosays:

    i’d be interested in your response to my comment a year ago when i made mine

  99. Bolted4Lifesays:

    hahaha Awesome movie!

  100. A Concerned Cinephilesays:

    I’d like you to take this as a harsh, but constructive criticism on your article. I don’t mean to attack you personally, but I do mean to honestly and shamelessly criticize the quality of your work in relation to the intent in your job. If you love film as an art form, I think you should treat it with respect when you critique it. I have no personal qualms with you, or anyone else on this site. I simply want to improve the quality of these discussions a little. Be warned, though, I don’t hold back in my critique of your piece. It won’t be very nice…

    Don’t fucking drop the fact that you make money critiquing films for a living, and then go headlong into an article where you use terrible grammar and awful points to back up your argument. And don’t give me the “spelling nazi” schtick. I’m not missing the point, it’s just that getting to said point was a huge pain in the ass because I got pulled out of the argument every time I ran across something like, “…than you missed the entire point of this movie…” I proofread shit I don’t get paid to write. One would think that if you’re getting paid to write this 4-page, single-spaced, non-academic article, you’d fucking go back through it once or twice to make sure it was at least somewhat professionally sound.

    Example: “An homage the the cartoons you loved as a child, mashed up with the action movies you grew up with.”

    Aside from the awful repetition of “the” (which happens more than just this once in your article), this is not a proper, complete sentence. The subject is missing (it would be Shoot Em Up), and along with it the operating verb (in this case, it could just be “is”). This is elementary school grammar, person who “makes a living” doing this.

    Also, the only arguments you have going for you is that Smith’s mannerisms are based off of Bugs Bunny, and that the film’s over-the-top nature was intentional. To this I say, “So what?” These are obvious production intentions, and have little to do with your outrageous claim that the movie is “The Most Misunderstood Action Movie of All Time.” They’re fun facts. Everything else is just longhand for, “Because it’s good,” or “Because I liked it,” or “Because you’re wrong.” “You’re wrong because you’re not right” is not a good argument. The sad thing is, there are actually good arguments for this film’s quality lurking in there somewhere, and you’ve completely, utterly, missed them.

    So, for those who might say, “Wow, look at this asshole, who cares?” I fucking care. I care because the entire purpose of this article was to make a point. You failed, and looked utterly unprofessional in that failure. I care because there’s an epic lack of quality in popular criticism, and it’s making the public’s view of the arts, cinema in particular, dumber. It’s not doing so on contact, but gradually, over time. Someone who is already educated to a certain degree will not lose intelligence by reading it, but someone who doesn’t know any better will be influenced by this type of writing.

    Of course one can seek out and read articles written by actual film scholars, but most people end up reading shit on these kind of sites. So for fuck’s sake, learn how to craft an actual argument (since that’s what your “profession” is based on), how to write grammatically correct sentences, and how to form a stance that is respectful to the artists actually producing these works.

    I am a filmmaker, and I’m encouraging you to treat these films with more respect, higher diligence, and greater thought. Yes, I will even stick up, in this capacity, for films like Shoot Em Up. If you think that statement rolled off the tongue as being derogatory towards the film, prove me wrong. This time, however, really prove me wrong. I believe you have it in you, and I believe film critics have an important place in the world of cinema. Take that place, not lazily, by necessity, but by force, and studious focus.

  101. A Concerned Cinephilesays:

    Oh, and real quick, I want to comment on the potential argument that this is just a fun, dumb, pointless movie, and that I should stop treating it so seriously. I didn’t find the action or comedy entertaining in any way. I thought it was poorly staged, choreographed, and designed. For example, there were too many instances of seeing the “shooter” in a medium shot, then cutting to a shot of his victim being hit, with little-no setup of where the two parties were in relation to each other. This just doesn’t make for impactful, viscerally satisfying action. It looks cheap and bad, no matter how you spin it. If you’re going to do a movie that’s entirely based on the action, and sell it as a plotless, pointless, dumb-fun romp, the action has to be exceptional. If the only thing the movie is trying to excel at is terrible, then you’ve failed utterly! Cheap, fake-looking stunts, constricting costumes, stiff-as-a-board characters, sub-par sound design, and lack of variety in monotonous “guy with a gun shoots other guys” scenarios time after time abound for what adds up to very little.

    Okay, I’m done. thanks for reading through all of this if you actually made it! If not, I don’t blame you. I know this has all been stupidly long for a 3:00am grumpy movie rant. Cheers, see you next time.

  102. Vamroc M Sylarsays:

    I recommend this film all the time IMO It’s The Punisher film I’ve always wanted to see but no one at Marvel had the balls to make.

  103. born_naughtysays:

    So…. how is it misunderstood? Sounds to me like people understand it perfectly but just don’t like it. For the record: I LOVED it!

  104. Briansays:

    The best part to me was the ending which utilized the nigh awesome Mötley Crüe number “kickstart my heart”

  105. Andrew Damion Stiborsays:

    Uh yeah no kidding. Do you think its too subtle for people to understand its parody? We all get what it’s supposed to be. It’s still terrible .

  106. “Talk about shooting your load…”

  107. V.C. Priviterasays:

    I think people were expecting more of a straight-action, no-nonsense flick, instead we got more of a comical satire action movie that just doesn’t stick….not even Monica Bellucci (looking fine as ever) can keep my interest…I don’t even think I finished it, nor would I want to.

  108. comment95405says:

    it is an awesome movie, cheesy to the core and making fun of the 1 man army action hero cliches

  109. dorkgeniuz21says:

    Shoot em Up is one of my top ten favorites as is my girls.I was working at amc at the time this movie came out and after I saw it I recommended it to every movie goer that couldn’t decide what to watch and more.They all came out and thanked me

  110. giantslorsays:

    Without having read page 2 yet, I can say that I feel the exact same way about Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.

  111. Harley Quinnsays:

    I watched movie many times and didn’t see anything wrong with it although at some point it makes you wonder what happened after Clive Owen’s character after caught up with his prostitute slash girlfriend played by Monica Bellucci (she was a TOTAL baby in the matrix and the “Brotherhood of the Wolf”) and the baby knowing those government types they’re going to let this just go I mean he did kill politician and the government will brand him as the most wanted man in America but when you think about it he did kill everyone on board the aircraft either way if they make a PART 2 movie I will watch it just to know what happens next

  112. Harley Quinnsays:

    TOTAL BABE scratch that baby part 🙂

  113. giantslorsays:

    Good article. I’ve said much the same about Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, which is an even more over-the-top cartoonish satire of action movies.

  114. RoG™says:

    Wait… you mean to tell me that there are people out there that believe it is a serious film?? Its meant to be over the top and wacky, its almost a parody of gun movies, hence the straight forward title, “shoot ’em up”. Honestly that’s the whole appeal of the movie for me, its not meant to be realistic, its a wacky, fun gunplay flick that lets you know from the get go what you’re getting. I didn’t make the bugs bunny connection, as Clive doesn’t behave very bugs like at all in the movie. I always thought the carrots were an eyesight gag…like how they say carrots improve your eyesight. figured smith was always munching on carrots to keep his aim on point. I’d also like to add that for as pro gun as the movie seems, it also makes the point that there is nothing worse than a pussy with a gun.

  115. Cardensays:

    The trouble with a brilliant parody is, people are idiots.

  116. Miguel Angel Opazo Arancibiasays:

    Hardcore Henry is the same thing.
    It’s not supposed to be taken seriously. It’s just plain fun.

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