Film: Shoot 'Em Up
Year: 2007
Rating: 4/5
Summary: Stylised violence, so exaggerated it's funny.

I have to admit I was put off even by the title of Shoot 'Em Up. It sounds like it should be the perfect example of all that's wrong with over-the-top, testosterone inspired action films. In many ways, that's exactly what it is. Pretty much any obstacle in the hero's path can be, and is, overcome with a bullet. Writer and director Michael Davis seems to be trying to outdo Quentin Tarantino at his own game, namely stylised violence, and he may actually have done it.

There must have been some point during the rewriting of this screenplay when Davis realised he'd made it so violent and so far fetched, that he just said "screw it, let's go with it." This is what I imagine to be the turning point, when the film got so bad that it grew a sense of humour and became good.

I'll use some concrete examples to give you some idea of the extent to which the laws of physics and good sense have been thrown out of the window for the sake of seeing how much the story can be exaggerated. There's one point very early on in the film where the hero kills a baddie armed with nothing more than a carrot. In another early scene, the hero needs to make a roundabout spin. He does this by shooting its handles repeatedly.

If you're the kind of person who absolutely must suspend her or his disbelief in order to enjoy a film, you'll likely find this tale absurd. If you hate macho violence - and even a macho interpretation of the obligatory love subplot by yet another male writer who seems to equate prostitution with love - then you may find it appalling. If you have a sense of humour, though, you might just make it through and even find this film enjoyable as it walks a fine line between action film and outright spoof. It's so funny, it surely has to be on purpose.