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Shoot 'Em Up is a 2007 action comedy film written and directed by Michael Davis (Monster Man) and produced by Susan Montford, Don Murphy and Rick Benattar. The film was released on September 7, 2007.

Plot

The film follows Mr. Smith (Clive Owen), a drifter who appears to have an extensive military background and a fondness for carrots who wants nothing more than to be left alone. Smith finds himself embroiled in a complex political conspiracy once he aids a pregnant woman who is going into labor while being chased by a hitman. After the woman is killed, he takes the baby and goes on the run with a lactating prostitute named Donna (Monica Bellucci). The unlikely family is trailed by the intelligent and ruthless Hertz (Paul Giamatti) and his army of thugs, determined to kill the baby. A plethora of elaborate gunfights ensue, between which Smith pieces together the real story: a United States Senator who strongly supports gun control had been breeding babies for their bone marrow to treat his cancer, and a prominent gun baron has contracted Hertz to kill the babies. Smith deduces during a meeting with the Senator that Hertz's contractor had made a deal with the Senator. The Senator would live (and presumably harvest the marrow from the baby) in exchange for abandoning his stance on gun control. After Smith kills the senator he is captured by Hertz who tries to get him to tell where the woman and child are. He soon manages to escape and kill Hertz and returns to the baby and Donna. The film ends with him taking out a band of robbers who attempt to rob the restaurant where they are reunited.

Cast



Production

When writer/director Michael Davis's original concept was passed on by movie studios, he put together a 17-minute reel of animated footage, consisting of 17,000 line drawings, in order to give studio heads an idea of how the action scenes would play out. This got the attention of New Line Cinema CEO, Bob Shaye, who approved the project and accepted Davis to direct. After signing Clive Owen and other actors, the film went into production in Torontomarker, Ontario, Canada between February 13, 2006 and May 8, 2006. Though Variety initially reported a planned release during the holiday season of 2006, and initial previews occurred in September of that year, the film was eventually scheduled for release on September 7, 2007.Audience response from a screening at 2007's San Diego Comic-Con was great, however. Multilingual co-star Monica Bellucci dubbed her own voice for the French and Italian releases of the film.

"Bullet proof baby" and other marketing

In the months leading up to the film's release, Shoot 'Em Up was promoted through various subtle means. For example, a promotional poster for the film was inserted into the Calypso Casino online multi-player level of the Rainbow Six: Vegas video game as part of an online game update. It was also promoted in the video game Crackdown in one of the city levels .

Since July 2007, Shoot 'Em Up was publicized with a guerrilla marketing campaign by London based agency New Media Maze (designer Adam C. Bright, strategist Chris G.D. Edwards). The campaign included a viral video and website selling bogus items ranging from bullet-proof stroller to riot helmets for infants. 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. The baby was then taken out of the stroller unharmed. It was all a prank, but the campaign was nevertheless taken seriously by global media and the blogging community. For instance, Swedenmarker's biggest evening tabloid Aftonbladet had the story as its lead on their online edition for some time.

Reception

Film critics' views on the film were sharply divided. Variety called the movie "violent and vile in equal measure," and "too stylistically audacious to dismiss outright." Hollywood Reporter was more equivocal in its review, saying "Anyone looking for subtlety, character development or layered plotting will be disappointed, but action fans will find plenty to amuse them with this film that makes Hard Boiled look restrained," and that the film is "all very good and undeniably fun...." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone praised the film (giving it three stars out of four) and called Shoot 'Em Up a "wet dream for action junkies [that] leaves out logic and motivation...." Taking the opposite view, Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film one out of four stars, decrying the film's "jolly cruelt[y]," and calling the film "cruddy and vile" and "witless," and A.O. Scott of the New York Times went even further, calling the film "a worthless piece of garbage." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times highly praised the film and gave it 3.5 stars out of 4, explaining: "I may disapprove of a movie for going too far, and yet have a sneaky regard for a movie that goes much, much farther than merely too far."

As of December 29, 2008, the movie-review aggregating website RottenTomatoes lists Shoot 'Em Up with a "Tomatometer" rating of 67% ("fresh") based on 156 reviews, with an average critic's rating of 6.2/10. The "Top Critics" summary on that site gives the film a 59% ("rotten") rating based on 29 reviews, with an average rating of 5.9/10.

Box office performance

The film opened in fourth place for its first weekend, earning $5,716,139 from 2,711 theaters. The film has a total worldwide gross of $26,820,641.

Blu-Ray & DVD release

The movie was released on high-definition Blu-ray Disc and DVD formats on New Year's Day, January 1, 2008.The HD DVD version of the movie was scheduled to be released shortly after the Blu-ray version, but Warner Bros./New Line's decision to exclusively support Blu-ray has led to the cancellation of all New Line HD DVD titles (along with all Warner Bros. HD DVD titles after May 2008). The Blu-Ray version of Shoot 'Em Up was delayed one week in Canada.

Notes

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