Shoot 'em Up

Why review it? Title says it all.


Apart from the failed Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, Shoot 'em Up may be the first movie which is truly post-post modernist. I suppose Pulp Fiction is a post-modernist film if for no other reason than it derives nothing from life first-hand. It is not a gangster movie about gangsters, ala Casino, but rather a gangster movie about fictional gangsters and other gangster movies. Sin City is similarly post-modernist in that it brings animation to a comic book which is not about real people in the real world, but essentially about comic book characters in their own plane of existence. Shoot em' Up removes the action one level further from reality. While Pulp Fiction, Sin City, Besson's films, Richie's films, and their many imitators function simultaneously as homages to and satires of pulp gangster stories, Shoot 'em Up functions as an homage to and satire of those very films! Its characters are so broad and its action so outrageous that Vince McMahon and Frank Miller would be envious. It's so surreal and over-the-top that it seems to be a screen incarnation of Jim Steranko's wildest fantasies about "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." The star, Clive Owen, even resembles Steranko's Fury, right down to the permanent stubble, lacking only the signature eyepatch to make the impersonation perfect. (The actual Fury character was played by David Hasselhoff in the lame official adaptation. It might have been a decent movie with Owen in the lead.)

Does it all work?


If you watch any individual scene in the film, you might find it wildly entertaining. Here are three examples:

  • Clive Owen has a shoot 'em up with some baddies while he midwifes a baby, cutting the umbilical cord with a well-placed bullet.

  • Clive Owen has a shoot 'em up with more baddies while he's having sex with Monica Bellucci, never withdrawing from her and bringing her to a climax as he blasts away. After capping the thugs, he also caps the action with a quip, James Bond style: "Talk about shooting your load."

  • Clive Owen has a shoot 'em Up with some baddies in mid air, after they all jump from a plane. After he reaches the ground safely, Clive walks through a field strewn with the bodies of his enemies, all fallen from the heavens, all dead before they hit the ground.

I could go on, but the rest of the list would consist of items similar to those above: outrageous, tongue-in cheek action battles with fewer nuances than a WWE rivalry, populated with comic book anti-heroes and villains.

The plot, such as it is, involves a corrupt Senator who needs a bone marrow transplant. Lacking the donors, he plans to  impregnate gazillions of woman and harvest the compatible bone marrow from his own offspring. He doesn't even plan to get the women pregnant the fun way, as Bill Clinton might do in the same situation. They are artificially inseminated.

Clive Owen, doing his usual neo-Bogart reluctant hero schtick, gets caught in between the Senator's minions and a woman about to give birth to one of the babies. The unshaven, angry Owen somehow ends up caring for the baby, enlisting the aid of a lactating hooker named DQ. (She's the baby's "Dairy Queen," get it?) An infinite supply of baddies comes after Clive, led by an evil genius named Mr. Hertz (Paul Giamatti), whose only vulnerability is that he's a henpecked husband whose wife objects when he comes home later than planned from a night of brutal slaughter and torture. Despite his brilliance, his ruthlessness, and his army of thugs, Mr. Hertz  is unable to reign in our hero for more than a few moments. By the end of the film Clive builds up a body count that must rival Stalin's.

I'm confident that if you watch any one scene from the film, you will get the urge to see the entire production, as I did. And yet when all of those scenes are strung together, the film tends to wear out its welcome, even at an economical running time. It's no simple task to write a review of such a film. Shoot 'em Up is the cinematic equivalent of eating an entire box of rich chocolates in one sitting - every bit of it is delicious, but the cumulative effect is a sense of being over-sated. It's witty and crazy and fun ... but it may be too much of a good thing, or maybe the same good thing too many times. How do you sum it all up when you love every scene in the film and find it all to be touched by mad genius, but just got tired of it after a while?

I guess I just did.


Critics leaned toward the positive (64% at RT), but were sharply divided, as you might expect in reaction to an over-the-top black comedy. Roger Ebert admired the film's audacity (three and a half stars), while James Berardinelli started out enthralled by it, then found that it got old after about the first third of the film (two and a half stars).

Since the film was lensed in Toronto, it seems appropriate that the reviewer from the Toronto Star (two stars) summarized the film best:

"If John Woo had directed a Bugs Bunny cartoon written by the creators of South Park, the result might be something like Shoot `Em Up, but with a crucial difference: Bugs Bunny cartoons were always less than 10 minutes long."

C+ on our scale. If the description appeals to you, it is a film worth seeing because it is bold and funny. It would appeal especially to those who liked Sin City.

The film clips and captures are of poor quality, since they are taken from one of those hand-cam bootlegs (I gather). Yesterday's film clip of Bellucci, although tiny, was superior, and is the source of the collages.




* Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

* White asterisk: expanded format.

* Blue asterisk: not mine.

No asterisk: it probably sucks.


Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.








Virtual Sex



Sex Files: Virtual Sex (1998) is a compilation of recycled scenes, out-takes and "coverage camera" footage from other Sex Files films. The premise centers on the theft of a virtual reality machine, including disks of the most puzzling Sex Files cases. Two crooks are in a bidding war for the machine, and naturally everyone must try it, hence all the recycled scenes.

A nudity summary will encapsulate the rest of the film's appeal:

  • Lauren Hays does full frontal and rear in two scenes as the thief. These are two of the three original scenes in this film.
  • Blake Pickett shows full frontal and rear nudity in one scene from Mr. X, and the other original scene shot for this film.
  • Ahmo Hight shows breasts in a scene from Restless Souls
  • Jamaica Charley shows breasts and buns in a scene from Mr. X, and another scene I didn't recognize.
  • Lauren Miller shows breasts in a scene from Mr. X.
  • Jacquelin Lovell shows full frontal in a train car sex scene I didn't recognize.
  • Delphine Pacific shows full frontal and rear in a scene I didn't recognize.

Some of the footage from other film projects did not actually appear in the films it was shot for.

Although Lauren Hays has screen presence, the plot is not engaging and the action consists almost entirely of tepid sex scenes. The reason to watch the film is the copious exposed flesh, which barely lifts the film up to minimal genre standards, assuming one watches nudie films for the nudity.

Grade: C-


Ahmo Hight



Blake Pickett



Delphine Pacific



Jacqueline Lovell



Jamaica Charley



Lauren Hays



Lauren Miller









Class of 1984

The Time Machine goes back to 1982 for a very violent film.


The only significant nudity comes from Helena Quinton in her only credited screen appearance. She does go full frontal plus some pretty ugly makeup.




Also an unknown shows breasts.







Notes and collages

Near Dark

Jenette Goldstein

Ms. Goldstein is "Diamondback" in this superior vampire thriller about a small clan of bloodsuckers who avoid detection by roadtripping from state to state (and burning the evidence of their activities along the way.)








Leonidas (Gerard Butler) is King of Sparta, that ancient race of warriors who believed in tempering the body and spirit through various unpleasant trials including abandoning weak babies at birth.

Sparta, and all of Greece, is under threat from the army of Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), King of Persia, who has been cheerfully conquering Asia Minor and now has his sights set on Europe. Ambassadors come to broker a settlement, encouraged by Sparta's wily and unscrupulous politician, Theron. Leonidas, however, has no intention of bowing before Xerxes and, egged on by his unfortunately named Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey), decides to take the fight to the Persians.

Leading a handpicked crew of 300 of his finest men, he sets out to face the invading horde of zillions of men and beasts.


Kelly Craig



Lena Headey








Smokin' Aces


Alicia Keys









Joanna Christie on stage with Harry Potter in Equus

A film clip of Jordana Brewster in Nearing Grace. Not too much nudity, but a beautiful woman.

Some new paparazzi shots of Kerry Katona (former Atomic Kitten) ...

and the Kerry file from the past ...






The Comedy Wire

Comments in yellow...

Friday, a new Osama bin Laden tape was released, and it was a bit bizarre.  Of course, he denounced President Bush and the war, and urged Americans to embrace Islam or die, but then he went rambling.  He slammed the Democrats for not ending the war faster, and lectured against capitalism, global warming, and for some reason, the subprime mortgage crisis.  Also, his scraggly, gray beard was suddenly dark and thick, leading some analysts to wonder if he'd shaved to disguise himself and put on a fake beard.  Or, since the picture froze after 96 seconds and all the recent references were voiceover only, it could be a tape filmed years ago with someone else's voice dubbed in. 

*  Maybe he simply dyed his beard dark with "Just For Terrorists." 

Over the weekend, Oprah Winfrey hosted a star-studded fundraiser for Barack Obama at her palatial California estate, where the rich and famous forked over about $3 million.  It's rumored that Oprah wants to become more involved in campaigning for Obama to win the primary, even though records show she hasn't voted in a primary herself since 1988. 

*  If Obama wins the primary, everyone who voted for him gets A NEW CAR!!!

An unnamed woman in Florence, Oregon, was charged with arson and burglary after she allegedly set fire to a neighbor's home because she thought the woman stole her keys.  Police say she broke into the neighbor's trailer, trashed it, used a stuffed toy and lighter fluid to set it on fire, then dialed 911 and hid in the bushes.  Her boyfriend got a call at work and rushed home to find her barefoot and incoherent. She finally got out that the neighbor had stolen her keys.  He asked if she meant those keys, and pointed to the keys hanging out of her pants pocket.  She began to cry.  

*  The good news: when she gets out of jail, she has a job offer as a writer for "My Name Is Earl."